Opening a playground in any community has its pros and cons. It can take quite a bit of work on the part of largely volunteers to get a project like that off the ground, particularly if there is no local parks and recreation department to back the project. Whether it is a private or public project, there are a lot of different elements to consider. Several are outlined below for consideration as you begin to plan your park.
- Location – This is obviously an important element, but if you have gotten so far as to start planning a playground then there is likely a location already selected for it. It needs to be an area where children can readily access it, first and foremost, and a spot that will not necessarily disrupt any neighbors who live nearby it. There are also going to be local zoning laws that need to be heeded, and that will take working with the city council or commissioner to make sure that all laws and regulations are being followed.
- Funding – Once the permit to actually build has been secured, it is time to start thinking about funding the playground. Equipment and playground rubber mulch will need to be purchased, as well as possible landscaping and lighting needs that will have to be met. This can be done through grants, loans, or fundraisers, or a combination of all of the above. Asking the city to pitch in some money can take longer but often times they can provide more than what could otherwise be raised. Sometimes children can take it upon themselves to hold bake sales, car washes, or other fundraisers to help contribute. There are also random grant programs that can be utilized if certain requirements are met, and this would take some time and research on the part of dedicated volunteers to find the opportunities and apply for them.
- Equipment – Once the funding has been raised, it is time to start looking for equipment and other supplies. This depends on whether you need landscaping services or even an electrician to install light posts, but it goes without saying that you will need to purchase the playground equipment and have it assembled. You will also need to call Southern States Rubber Mulch for the playground mulch with which the equipment will be surrounded. They have excellent deals for buying mulch in bulk and can get it to you quickly, with great customer service.
- Once the park is ready, set an opening day for the community to come and celebrate! Ask volunteers to bring baked goods, beverages, and all the kids in the neighborhood to come break in the new playground and its equipment. Do it on a weekend or an evening to make sure that it does not conflict with school hours or most work hours, and make sure to invite children of all ages and their families to the newest local playground. Depending on your project, you might even allow for pets to come with them!