Jul 28, 2014
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Plan It Themselves: Kids Get Chance to Design Playground

School children to help playground architect come up with a new Joey's Park blueprint.

Plan It Themselves: Kids Get Chance to Design Playground

There are not that many times kids are asked what exactly they want from adults.

But tomorrow, Thursday, Sept. 20, Belmont school children will get the assignment of a lifetime: to help design a dream playground. 

From 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., nearly 500 pupils of the Winn Brook Elementary School will participate in "Design Day," the first step in the construction of a new Joey's Park.

The architect meeting with the kids is John Dean, who has been doing these community-built playgrounds for a quarter century and has presided over some 500 Design Days across the country and a few abroad. Dave Iannello, who will also be with Dean, are the founders of the firm Play By Design.

Then at 7 p.m. at the school, the preliminary design will be unveiled to community.

The current structure, a beloved one-of-a-kind wooden playground, was closed down by the town last year due to safety concerns. While it has been reopened after many alterations, it was clear that the structure was deteriorating and needed to be replaced.  

The park was built 23 years ago in memory of Joey O'Donnell, who is also the inspiration for the Joey Fund .

After O'Donnell's death, his friends came up with the idea of building the park, which local children helped design and the community came together to build it.

The goal in 2012 is to build the new park in much the same way and continue to honor the spirit of Joey with a new park for a new generation of children.

Belmont Partners in Play, a new community group dedicated to preserving and increasing space for play in town, is raising funds for the project – the major fundraiser will be a community walk in October – and eventually hundreds of volunteers will come together to build the playground in a day of Joey.

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