Kyiah Giannelli, a Boy Scout with Troop 131 from the Saxon firehouse, and a number of his fellow scouts have installed the first piece of equipment as part of a natural playground at Seamon Park. Heidi-Jo Brandt, who heads the village playground fund, enlisted Giannelli and his fellow scouts as part of an effort to replace outdated and unsafe playground equipment at the park with equipment more in keeping with the natural landscape.
Giannelli is working on his Star Badge, which requires him to do a community project. “I’ve known Ms. Brandt since I was little, and she suggested that I might be able to help out with the new playground at the park,” he said.
Several years ago, an adjuster with the village’s liability insurance company declared most of the equipment at the village’s playgrounds unsafe for children. The village board has been slowly replacing the unsafe equipment with child-safe swings and slides.
Brandt signed on as chair of a committee to raise money. The Lions Club has also been replacing equipment at its playground adjacent to Cantine Field.
Not wanting to put up traditional equipment at the little-used playground in Seamon Park, Brandt hoped a more natural playground would draw more youngsters. “I wanted to have a playground that was more natural and matched the landscape,” Brandt explained on a recent Saturday while Giannelli and his fellow scouts were working on installing a wood-log stepping path.
Giannelli got Hudson Valley Cedar’s Todd Baldason of Shokan to donate a number of cedar logs. Scouts cut them into three-foot lengths that were buried in the ground as stepping stones for youngsters. Brandt picked up quick-setting cement to hold the logs in place.
The village department of parks, buildings and grounds will install a layer of mulch around the logs. Children who fall will land in something soft.
The first piece of the natural landscape playground is in place. Next will come a slide that follows the contour of the landscape at the park.