WILMINGTON — The upcoming construction of the new playground at David Williams Memorial Park will be brand new — but with the flair of its predecessor.
“We want (the new playground) to be similar to how it is now, but with new material,” said Parks Director Jermaine Isaac.
Isaac is excited for the new castle playground, with construction set to begin this year.
He also knows the significance of the original playground built in 1995. This is why he wants to give local residents until March 10 to snap a photo or to just simply enjoy it before construction begins the next day.
The hope is that the new version will be open on June 7, the first day the Banana Split Festival — which started as a fundraiser for the original playground.
Isaac has also been working local resident Judy Gano, who started it all in 1995 and wants the 2019 version to have the same vibe. The two recently spoke at a Wilmington Rotary Club meeting, where both expressed their excitement about the new playground.
“That (original) playground has outlived its life, she (Judy) totally understands the need, and totally supports it,” said Isaac. “She said if there is any way she could help, she’d be willing.”
Isaac told the News Journal that Gano even had things saved from 25 years ago that didn’t make it to the original playground, including some crafts made by kids.
While construction begins on March 11, Isaac wants to have a community construction week like with the original, from May 13-19
Back in 1995, around 900 local residents pitched in to help build it, including current Mayor John Stanforth and former Parks & Rec Director Lori Williams.
Isaac’s goal is to have 70 volunteers for each of the three, four-hour shifts over the seven-day construction period. They’re not only looking for helpers, but they’re also looking for equipment and donations.
“We definitely want to continue to raise money, we feel confident we can make out goal ($500,000) by May 13,” he said. As of this publication, they are $46,706 short of their goal.
He said all of this support shows the real sense of community in the city and the county.
“Projects like this really show how special communities of Wilmington’s size really are and how persistent we are,” Isaac said. “With how busy we all are in 2019, for us to able to slow down a week for one great cause, for our kids, something that’s going to be in our community for 30 years … it’ll be great to have us show up and show out, as they say.”
For further info about donating or volunteering, visit wilmingtonparks.com.
Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574