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Greenwich Daily Voice serves Greenwich, CT

Junior League Cuts Ribbon at Greenwich Playground

GREENWICH, Conn. — Greenwich kids of all abilities can meet the challenges of maneuvering through ropes and rocks now that the final stage of the Bruce Park Boundless Playground renovation is complete.

The Junior League of Greenwich, in partnership with the town of Greenwich’s Department of Parks and Recreation and United Way of Greenwich, broke ground on the Rocks and Ropes installation in early October. It officially opened last week.

The Boundless playground is designed so all children, including those with developmental, cognitive and sensory challenges, can play side-by-side. Boundless Playgrounds is a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to foster and develop inclusively designed playgrounds. Bruce Park has the only playground of its kind in the area.

“We just fell in love with the design and the concept,” said Catherine Youngman of the Junior League. “It’s an interactive playscape for kids, and it's something that addresses all age groups and all physical and cognitive abilities.”

On one side of the park, older children can play on a hillside slide, swing on adaptive swings with back support, explore a barrier-free jungle-gym area for 5- to 10-year-olds, and climb on a winding rock-climbing zone.

The new addition to the climbing zone is a series of rocks and connecting rope systems, which provide children with a natural, unique and challenging play environment. The rocks are made of polyfibercrete, a material that creates the same tactile sense of stone but is constructed for safe play.

Other new features include an oversize Sequoia log that can accommodate adults and children; an oversize Sequoia root ball that children can hide and crawl through; and an elevated spider net. “In the Sequoia root ball we tried to make it wheelchair accessible and it can easily be maneuvered through if you’re disabled. It’s a really neat feature,” said Youngman.

Toddlers can rock, ride, spin, slide and pull up on brightly colored equipment in a safe, fenced area. An enchanted forest features imaginative play with hollowed-out tree trunks and a bird’s nest with eggs. The park’s sand pit has a wheelchair dock to allow parents to safely help a disabled child in.

Quiet areas of the park allow for escape. “We had children’s groups and parents who would tell us, ‘Usually if my child has a meltdown, we have to go home,’ so we tried to give them quiet places where they can hang out, regroup and come back,” Liz Van Duyne, another member, said during a tour earlier this year.

The park’s growing maze is wide enough for a wheelchair and challenges children to find their way to the center and back again. The Native American village has a dugout canoe and a fire pit surrounded by benches, a tribute to the original residents of Greenwich. A sensory garden includes plants with soft leaves for touching and flowers for smelling.

Interpretive signs throughout the area provide children with added activities and park information. Van Duyne pointed to graphic images used as communication tools for children with autism or language disabilities.

“You really can’t find it anywhere, especially the custom pieces,” said Youngman. “I think people like the fact that it’s really unique and it offers something different for their kids."

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