Mount Playmore, the much beloved playground in Turkey Brook Park, was recently awarded the 2015 Excellence in Design Award by the New Jersey Recreation and Parks Association (NJRPA). Representatives from Mount Olive Recreation and Mount Olive Parks, Buildings & Grounds joined together to accept the prestigious award at the 40th Annual NJRPA Conference and Awards Dinner held on March 10th at Bally’s Conference Center, Atlantic City, NJ.
The NJRPA Awards Program recognizes the State’s outstanding Recreation and Parks projects plus honors dedicated leaders, professionals, employees and volunteers. The goal of the Awards Program is to focus State attention on the achievements of Park and Recreation agencies, exemplary facilities, as well as recognize the continuing efforts of staff, volunteers and member agencies.
Mount Playmore began with a vision from Mount Olive Mayor, Rob Greenbaum to “build a village” within Turkey Brook Park. The intent was to have community involvement from design to construction. The design process was started in November of 2013 by inviting all Mount Olive students to submit their drawings and ideas, resulting in over 400 ideas submitted from area children. Suggestions were also gathered from parents and special education teachers and occupational therapists from the Mount Olive school district to ensure consideration of needs were met for all children.
Once the design idea was in place the Planning Committee went to work. Sean Canning, Business Administrator; Lisa Brett, Special Projects Coordinator; Frank Wilpert Jr, Assistant Director of DPW; Jim Lynch, Supervisor of Parks Buildings & Grounds; John Geiger, Foreman of Parks Buildings and Grounds; Jill Daggon, Recreation Supervisor; Laura Rimmer, Recreation Marketing Director and Liz Meininger, Recreation Program Specialist spent countless hours keeping the project on track, and physically building the playground right along side over 100 local resident volunteers.
At completion, Mount Playmore is approximately 12,500 square feet, hosting two play areas one for ages 5+ and a Tot Lot area for those under the age of 5 and was officially opened to the public on June 16th, 2014. Mount Playmore features two separate swing bays, both with a therapy swing and one with a tire swing. There are 8 slides ranging from twisty slides, to racing slides and a cochlear slide specifically for children with cochlear implants. There are climbing nets, spinning cups, rock walls, tunnels, a pirate ship complete with steering wheel and a tree house tower. All of Mount Playmore is also surfaced with an all abilities, rubber tile ensuring maximum safety and access in compliance with ADA regulations. But one of the features that makes Mount Playmore so unique is the artwork, designed by Ana C. Robles and painted by herself and her volunteers. Walking around the playground you will see dragons, seasonal towers, castle walls, window boxes and so many other special touches.
“This project was very much a community involvement project from start to finish. Without the inspiration and support of Mount Olive Township Administration; Parks, Buildings & Grounds and Recreation and the generous donations both financially, in-kind and through volunteer hours of our contributing businesses and families we could not have brought this dream playground to life. Mount Playmore is without question a magnificent play space that will inspire imaginations, engage children in healthy activity and create friendships amongst children now and for many years to come,” stated Recreation Supervisor, Jill Daggon, “We humbly accept this award with the affirmation that our efforts to continue improving our parks systems for all Mount Olive residents is recognized and honored.”
Further plans are already underway to continue enhancements of Turkey Brook Park with the recent announcement of Pirate’s Cove a 3000 square foot splash pad, which can be winterized and converted to an ice skating surface coming the summer of 2016.