It seems like a lifetime ago that Kids’ Joy Land was first built. In fact, it actually was. I was 8 months pregnant during the build week in mid-October, 1993 with my daughter, Kristin.
The early nineties was a time of community projects. The community members of Manheim and Elizabethtown, as well as other neighboring communities, had taken on the task of community-built playgrounds, and a small group of folks in Mount Joy saw the potential for improvement in the “Park Next to Kunkle.”
The kickoff fundraiser was a Money Mile. The vision was children and adults placing coins on the curb, end to end, for an entire mile down Main Street. And while I no longer recall the exact total raised by that endeavor, we were successful in engaging the community in the excitement of our vision for both money, as far as the eye could see, as well as the vision for a playground designed by kids and for kids.
The 1993 playground was designed and built based on the history of Mount Joy. The Good Ship Mount Joy was the center design element in the first set of plans, and many a shipmate climbed its cargo net and whispered in its secret walkie-talkie pipes. Most of those sailors had learned in school that Mount Joy is not named for a mountain, but for a vessel that brought settlers here from Europe.
|Opening Day October 1993|
A lot of history supported the building of the first Kids’ Joy Land, and the committee is working to continue that history as the new project progresses.
|Susan's Scrapbook Page|
In March of 2013, the children at Donegal Primary and Donegal Intermediate Schools offered their ideas to Jane Holman, an architect with the same firm who designed the original playground. Jane finished her day gathering information about our community, and developing the preliminary sketches for Kids’ Joy Land 2.0, by talking to a very important Mount Joy community member, the late Vera Albert.Vera’s passion for history inspired Jane, as she incorporated the design for the future playground, using the ideas of the current generation, while honoring the past.
|Jane Holman from Leathers & Associates at Donegal Primary School|
We’re halfway through the fundraising goals for the new playground, and the history books can now record a new motivation for this project. The Rotary Club of Mount Joy has taken the wheel, and is navigating the project, “full steam ahead.”
The volunteer committee members from the original build are now welcoming grandchildren into their lives, knowing that in a few short years they’ll be sharing stories of sailing ships, community support, and the love of Mount Joy with the next generation.
Meanwhile, stay tuned here for tales from the past and stories of dreams for the future. There’s a place for everyone in this latest historical project, and you won’t want to be left out of your place in the books.
Please feel free to post your comments and pictures.