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The Parks and Recreation Department worked with the town’s volunteer Boundless Playground Committee and Boundless Playgrounds Inc. of Bloomfield, CT to develop a Boundless Playground in Northwest Park. The playground was designed so that all children, the fully able, as well as those who have physical, sensory and developmental disabilities, can play together. With the recent completion of phase I construction, a play area for ages 5-12 opened in May of 2003.

WHO
The Town began working with Boundless Playgrounds, Inc. of Bloomfield in March of 2001 on plans for Manchester’s Boundless Playground. A local Boundless Playground Group began working on the project in April 2001. The volunteer group is made up of Town staff, Board of Education staff and adults and children from the community. The Parks and Recreation Department and Town Playground Committee have worked closely with the Boundless Group and Boundless Playgrounds, Inc. to develop a design for the playground. The project has been endorsed by the Town’s Park and Recreation Advisory Commission, the Town’s Commission for People with Disabilities and the Town Board of Directors.

WHAT 
The Northwest Park Boundless Playground will be a barrier-free, 70% wheelchair accessible, developmentally appropriate, sensory rich, fun and safe playground for children of all abilities. The playground will have an area designed for children ages 2-5 and an area designed for ages 5-12.

The playground plan includes restrooms at the site.

WHERE
Our playground is built in Northwest Park located at 448 Tolland Turnpike. Northwest Park is a 25± acre community recreation area offering both passive and active recreational opportunities. Facilities include a lighted college high school level baseball field, a lighted tournament level little league field, sand volleyball courts, picnic pavilion, concession stand, and a combination paved/stonedust accessible trail system which runs throughout the park. 

WHEN
The design for the site is complete. Phase I of the playground is fully funded and will be constructed in the summer of 2002. Future phases will be constructed as funding becomes available.

WHY
The Town presently does not have a universally accessible playground where all children, the fully able as well as those who have physical, sensory and developmental disabilities can play together. The Town hopes that by understanding the diverse needs of children, it can create a play environment where all children can experience one of the great joys of childhood, the ability to play side by side with siblings, friends and classmates.

FUNDRAISING
In November of 2000, Manchester voters approved a referendum question which included $100,000 in funding for a playground in Northwest Park. In March of 2001, the Town received $25,000 from the State Department of Environmental Protection for the project. In January 2002 the Town received $30,000 from the State Boundless Playground Initiative. The Project has also been awarded a $10,000 grant from Ronald McDonald House Charities of Connecticut and Western Massachusetts and a $50,000 grant from the Lincoln Financial Group Charitable Contributions Committee.

A Boundless Playground Fundraising Committee is presently developing a comprehensive fundraising plan. The committee is seeking corporate and community support. The Committee’s ambitious goal is to fully fund the remaining portion of this project through grants and private donations.
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Town of Manchester, Connecticut
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