Hundreds of volunteers representing several local businesses will work in partnership with City staff next week to complete construction of Preston's Playground. Beginning Monday, August 6, the volunteer workforce will assist staff of the Parks and Recreation Department to assemble various pieces of the park. Once completed, the playground will be Newark's first all-inclusive park, with safe, adaptive equipment for children and families of all abilities.
"Newark is a community of neighbors - and this multi-day build is a great example of how this community comes together," said Parks and Recreation Director Joe Spadafino. "We are so grateful to have people who live and work here be generous with their time and energy to help bring this playground to fruition."
Preston's Playground is named after Preston Buenaga, a Wilmington teen who has mitochondrial disease. His mother Deb Buenaga was inspired to create an adaptive playground in the area after visiting one while on vacation in Virginia. In addition to providing the 6,000-square foot of space at the bottom of the Newark Reservoir, the City has been overseeing the construction and taking the lead role in the assembly of the playground. The City of Newark also contributed $130,000 towards the water and sewer lines for the ADA accessible restrooms that will be part of phase two of the project. Additional funds were raised through the Preston's Playground Foundation since 2015,
and grants including the Longwood Foundation and the State of Delaware Outdoor Recreation Parks and Trails grant. Fusion Fitness, a local Newark business, was also a strong supporter and helped spearhead the project.
"Every child should be able to get outdoors, play and just be a kid - regardless of any limitations they may have," said Deb Buenaga. "This playground will have Preston's name attached to it, but it's a playground for everyone to enjoy, to experience and to feel included in the community."
The current schedule of volunteer support is as follows:
- Monday, August 6: Sallie Mae and Mayor Polly Sierer; lunch provided by Capriotti's
- Tuesday, August 7: Discover; lunch provided by Klondike Kates
- Wednesday, August 8: Fusion Fitness and Capriotti's; lunch provided by Skip Jacks
- Thursday, August 9: University of Delaware College of Health Sciences; lunch provided by Sherm's Catering
- Friday, August 10: Preston's March for Energy; lunch provided by Grotto Pizza
For more information on Preston's Playground or to make a donation online, visit www.prestonsplayground.com.