The new Imagination Kingdom playground build will take place from March 5 to March 7, Greenfield Exempted Village School District Superintendent Quincey Gray announced at an informational meeting on Thursday.
Gray said a majority of the more strenuous physical labor will be done on March 5 and March 6, while March 7 will mostly include cleanup and mulching. Landscaping, fencing, and the installation of new paver stones, a new donor stone, blacktop and green space will take place in the warmer months.
The original paver stones and the original donor stone will remain, and the playground will still be named the Imagination Kingdom.
On Jan. 2, the original Imagination Kingdom was demolished and removed by local volunteers at no cost to the district. There will be some additional cleanup work to prepare for the build in March.
“The condition was not good, and it took just a matter of hours and it was gone,” Gray said at Thursday’s meeting.
The former Imagination Kingdom was built over a five-day period in early May 1993 by more than 1,000 volunteers including doctors, lawyers, construction workers, factory workers, teachers, parents, grandparents and students, Sue Zint, who was the elementary principal at the time of the Imagination Kingdom’s inception, said.
In early December 2019, Gray announced the playground would be demolished due to the inability to correctly and safely repair the former structure as the parts are no longer made.
“I actually just today got all of our health inspection reports from November,” Gray said Thursday. “Usually as a district, we always really do very well on those inspections. The biggest negative of all was that playground. Our maintenance team has done a wonderful job of patching and doing things over the years, but it became more difficult to keep up with. The company that made that playground actually doesn’t make the playground anymore.”
The new playground equipment will be easier to maintain. According to Gray, there will be QR codes on the equipment that GEVSD’s maintenance team can electronically scan, which will make ordering replacement parts much easier.
“Throughout this project, our goal has been to maintain the history behind the old playground and provide something new,” Gray said. “We wanted to find a balance between something totally way out there design-wise and something more traditional, and I feel like we were able to do that.”
As previously reported, the main area of the new equipment will be in a sort of semi-circular shape with other play equipment fanning out from there. The new equipment will be situated in about the same area as the current playground and includes slides, climbing equipment, spinning equipment, a teeter totter, swings, benches and picnic tables, and green space. The new playground will also include an ADA accessible merry-go-round and two ADA accessible swings.
Gray said one of the reasons the district ultimately chose Midstates Recreation was because the playground could be assembled by the community, just as the original playground was in 1993.
Community members will be able to donate.
“This project’s a little bit different than the last because I know they did a lot of active fundraising,” Gray said. “To be honest with you, the district has been planning for this for a while because they knew it was something that was going to need to be done eventually. We want to give people the opportunity if they want to purchase a paver, just like the last time.”
Gray said there will be three recognition tiers:
Bronze—those who help during the build or make a donation under $60 will be recognized at a school board meeting.
Silver—those who purchase a paver stone for $60 will choose what to put on that stone and will also be recognized at a school board meeting.
Gold—those who donate $1,000 or more will get their names on a new donor stone and will also be recognized at a school board meeting.
GEVSD’s PTO is also selling shirts. Money raised through shirt sales will also go towards the playground.
Gray added that they also hope to create a new parking area, but the donations for the new playground won’t go towards that space.
“Anything that’s donated is playground only,” Gray said. “In the end, if we end up with money left, that will just let us be able to enhance the playground even more.”
There will be a meeting in February with new information about the build.
To volunteer, donate or purchase a shirt or paver stone, reach out to the Greenfield Exempted Village School District for more information.
Reach McKenzie Caldwell at 937-402-2570.