A project to bring in a refreshed playground at the Child Development Center aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany came to fruition with a ribbon-cutting on July 31.
“It is a complete renovation; we revitalized the entire playground. We made sure we gave children what they needed and took into consideration the aesthetics of it,” Matthew Hardwick, director, Semper Fit, Marine Corps Community Services, MCLB Albany, said. Hardwick also served as the project manager for the new playground.
The playground is set much like it was before, with five different sections bordered off by fencing to encourage age-appropriate play. The equipment and surfacing within the playground are new, as are some features including spinners serving as alternatives to the merry-go-round.
“We are excited about the spinners, because we know how kids like to spin,” Zarah Rouse, assistant director, CDC, MCCS, MCLB Albany, said.
The new playground has a rainbow-colored splash pad, and a swing to accommodate children with special needs.
“We also included pieces of equipment that accommodate children with special needs. No matter their disability and age group, we wanted to make it versatile,” Hardwick said.
The project started in October 2019. A final inspection cleared the way for the playground to re-open, much to the anticipation of those using it.
The youngsters at the center as well as their parents watched the progress unfold from the ground up. Rouse said there was much excitement leading up to the day the children were able to take it all in.
"It is captivating not just for the children, but the adults as well," she added.
The playground also has a new track in the toddler area for the children to ride their bicycles on.
“That is something we did not have before,” Rouse stated.
Hardwick said the equipment previously in place had begun to age, and that the renovation is meant to give a higher standard of quality.
“We desire to give military families and those who support them the best,” he continued.
Hardwick and Rouse said playgrounds give more than an outlet for physical fitness. They provide opportunities for play that improve social, cognitive and creative development. Play also sharpens problem-solving skills and impulse control.
“Early childhood is learning through play. It is overly critical in early childhood to learn through play,” Rouse said.
Hardwick said the quality of the CDC playground is difficult to beat.
“This definitely puts us above most playgrounds in the area, and on par with others in the Marine Corps,” Hardwick said.
Overall, it is beneficial in that it is safer and improved compared to the previous design.
“It just shows families and parents that we care about children’s well-being and that the high standards we have transcend the classroom and are shared on the playground wherein we provide the best equipment to play on,” Hardwick said.
Rouse gave a similar sentiment when speaking of the benefit the rehabilitated playground has to the base’s CDC families.
“It shows we value them; that we have given them the best,” she said.