Recently I was talking with Sean Connors, from our Public Works Department and he shared with me his experiences and impressions of community involvement surrounding the building of the playground, and so I invited him to share his reflections with everyone. Thank you, Sean.
I arrived as Special Projects Coordinator in Cranberry Township’s Public Works Department this past January. My first large project, I was told, would be taking down and replacing Playtime Palace in Community Park – a playground that was nearly as old as I am. By spring, according to the plan, nothing of it would be left except a grassy lot. But by the end of summer, its new and much-anticipated replacement – Kids Castle – would be open to the public.
It was a huge undertaking. Just its size alone triggered visions of unforeseen and unwelcome delays. Kids Castle would be bigger, more varied in material, more complex in design, and involve more labor in construction than anything I had faced before. And frankly, I was worried.
Today is the playground’s official ribbon-cutting ceremony. It will celebrate the amazing process by which Kids Castle came into being. And it’s been hugely exciting for me to witness the project unfold. I’ve been bowled over by the things I’ve seen in my short time here in Cranberry. The passion and commitment of thousands of volunteers, skilled professionals and, of course, the kids themselves have all contributed to the elaborate and exciting new community playground that now stands in the heart of Community Park.
For me, one great but unexpected outcome has been that the people of this community have earned my unwavering and utmost faith. The CTCC and Cranberry CUP are truly impressive organizations, pooling funds and recruiting volunteers from throughout the community to make sure the job was done, and done right. Beyond that, though, was what I saw in the efforts of Cranberry Township employees. They were amazing. Essentially every department and division was involved.
My own involvement in the project was actually very much behind the scenes. For example, I was involved in receiving a lot of shipping containers from overseas without knowing exactly what was inside since they weren’t labeled in English. We received unbelievably heavy boxes of screws, nuts, bolts, and brackets from UPS. We borrowed tools from every corner of the maintenance garage, and even many people’s personal tools. We made coffee in a dimly lit, swelteringly hot tool trailer with an extension cord running from the jobsite. And we made quite a few trips to Home Depot at a moment’s notice. They were all tiny pieces in a huge puzzle.
Essentially every member of the Public Works Department lent a hand in this project. Their involvement made me realize just how far-reaching the project had really become. Brick by brick, as the expression goes. And that’s exactly how the Kids Castle was built. Through the efforts of so many people, both large and small, we now have an awesome new addition to Community Park. It made me proud to work for Cranberry Township, proud to be a part of this community, and proud of the individuals who live, work, and play here.