The Dream Park
A major milestone took place at Eliot River Elementary in 1995. The Dream Park was built. It was quite an undertaking which took a lot of planning, organizing, and hard work. By 1994 Eliot River Elementary was already twenty years old and so was the playground equipment. It was falling into disrepair and was no longer safe for the students. A committee was formed to look at improvements for the playground equipment and although repairs were made over the spring and summer, it was clear that the older equipment would no longer suffice. Some members of the community decided that a new, all-inclusive playground was needed. The committee began researching their options when in October one of the members of the committee heard about a playground under construction in Riverview, New Brunswick. After looking into the details of that project, the committee enthusiastically decided that Eliot River should have a similar structure. The project was spearheaded by Eliot River School secretary Cathy Carragher and Gina Rankin, and sub-committees were quickly formed to get the project in motion. The company responsible for the large scale accessible playground is called Leather Associates and is based out of New York. They had created similar structures in Canada, the U.S., Australia and Europe.2 Representatives of the company provided all the knowledge needed to build such a structure. One of the architects met with the children of the school to gather their ideas of what they wanted to see in their “dream park”. A design was created and the work started. The members of the community were the people who actually built the park. Fundraising efforts began in order to obtain the money and materials needed for the project. After a year of planning, fund-raising, and organizing, the Dream Park was built by hundreds of volunteers: children and adults alike. Construction started on Tuesday September 19, 1995 when Leathers began the work by building the holes. The remainder of the work was carried out by the volunteers who lovingly toiled over the next five days to complete a wonderful community project. The Dream Park was opened at 8:00pm Sunday September 24, 1995 and has been enjoyed by the children of the community since that day.
To learn more about Leather Associates please click here