By Ted Ryan
Huntington is ready to play, as the town celebrated the opening of a new playground at Hobart Beach in Northport this past Friday, Aug. 12.
The original playground, which was 20 years old, suffered damage from Superstorm Sandy in 2012. After removing some of the sand after the storm, the town discovered the bases were rotting and in need of replacement.
The new playground is made to be fully accessible to children with disabilities to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, as the old playground didn’t reportedly have the same accessibility for all children. According to the town, the new play area “encourages children to engage with each other through varied types of available activities.”
Replacing the old facility with the new one cost $187,000 and was funded by the town’s parks improvement fund. The Environmental Open Space and Park Fund Committee approved the new park as well before construction began.
“We’re delighted that this can happen [through] cooperation of our Open-Space Committee, community and civic groups through the area,” Supervisor Frank Petrone (D) said at the opening of the new playground. “This was a long time coming.”
Pieces of the old Hobart playground were salvaged and re-purposed as replacement parts for the playground at Fleets Cove Beach in Huntington. Park benches made for parents to watch their children on the playground were added as well.
Eileen Heinzman, a Northport parent whose children were some of the first to play on the newly opened space, said the new facility is an upgrade for kids.
“[The new playground] is updated and modern,” she said. “It’s definitely an improvement for the community and our town beach. Everyone’s excited that it’s finally here.”
The children at the ceremony anxiously waited for the ribbon to be cut, so they could try out all the new equipment.
“The kids are playing, they’re having a good time, and that’s what this is all about,” said Petrone. “Giving them a playground, giving them a place, and giving them memories. That’s what’s most important. May you use it well, may you enjoy it, and most important, may you be safe.”