Undersecretary’s Inner Child Takes Over During Playground Tour | News, Sports, Jobs

WILLIAMSPORT — “How cool is that?

That’s what Rick Vilello asked Memorial Park Accessible Playground on a cold Wednesday afternoon.

Vilello, who is assistant secretary in the state Department of Community and Economic Development’s Office of Community Affairs and Economic Development, said the investment was worth it.

The $550,000 Accessible Playground – with a soft, flexible base that’s safe for kids to run around on and, yes, fall on without fear of injury, has plenty of features aimed at kids with special needs.

It was made possible and funded, in large part, by a $200,000 grant the city secured from the Commonwealth Finance Authority, an independent agency of the DCED. The city also received private donations that covered the cost of building the playground that replaced the one that had broken pieces and scruffy flooring that was unsafe.

The smooth surface allows those who need accessibility to move freely around the site.

In addition, the equipment is equipped with sensory devices and other features designed for people with special needs.

Even though it was cold and not a day for frolicking on the playground equipment, Vilello channeled his inner child as he climbed the ramp on one of the playground’s biggest features.

“Mayor, can I come and play? » said Vilello, who is no stranger to Lycoming and Clinton counties, as mayor of Lock Haven for 16 years.

Mayor Derek Slaughter nodded in approval, joined by his administrative staff, including Kayla Drummond, the city’s recreation coordinator and Scott Livermore, director of the Department of Public Works.

“I want to do this everywhere” Vilello said the playground is an investment in quality of life and a factor for any family considering buying a home in the city, especially one near Memorial Park, Vilello said.

It’s the kind of tactile experience that only a visit can do justice.

The playground is one of the main objects of affection for parents, grandparents and young people in the city and the neighboring region.

It is heavily used throughout the spring, summer, and early fall, especially by children attending summer day camps run by the city’s recreation department.

The park itself is also undergoing a major revitalization.

Nearby, the soon-to-be-reopened Memorial Park Pool, which was closed in 2020 due to the pandemic and then kept closed due to infrastructure needs, including finding and repairing a major water leak . It will be open this year after repairs have been made, mostly by in-house public works employees. The city council authorized the expenditure of a new swimming pool membrane or liner of $129,000 and $10,000 in electronic components.

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Harold B. McConnell