By Carolyn Marnon – “One of the first things I tell the group is ‘I’m really good at playgrounds, but I’m really bad at names,’” said Wayne resident Juan Bradford, Community Build Supervisor for Miracle Midwest, Miracle Playscapes that manufactured the new playscape at Rotary Park II located on Chamberlain between John and Stellwagen streets in Wayne.
Volunteers from throughout the Wayne community came together on Friday, June 28, and Saturday, June 29, to construct the new playscape that officially opened Monday, July 1.
“My job is to go out and assist groups that purchase playground equipment with the intent of installing it themselves with volunteers. I typically end up working with schools, churches, municipalities, HOA’s and I will travel anywhere in Michigan, Indiana, or Ohio,” said Juan. “The most challenging part of my job is taking a group of people whom I have just met that day and quickly evaluate their skill level, stamina, and ability to work as a leader or follower. There truly is a job for everyone and I do my best to find them that job. That and remembering everyone’s name.
Friday, the Wayne Department of Public Works (DPW) prepared the ground while volunteers unloaded the playscape components and moved them to the areas where they would be installed. Posts were then dropped in preparation for assembly.
Saturday, the playscape was assembled. This consisted of lifting parts and bolting them together.
“One of the most satisfying parts of helping a group build a play structure is seeing people smile and be proud of themselves after assembling something when earlier that day they didn’t even know how a ratchet wrench worked,” said Juan.
“Thankfully, we didn’t have any last-minute surprises like not enough volunteers or bad weather. Even though it was around 90° and humid each day, everyone did a good job of keeping hydrated and taking breaks when needed. We don’t want anyone working harder than they are able to, that’s how people can get hurt and we definitely don’t want that. I want everyone who was there to look back in a month or a year and remember how much fun they had,” continued Juan. “As a former City of Wayne employee who worked for the Parks and Recreation Department for 28 years, it was a great feeling for me to get to come back and do a community build playground in my hometown.”
According to Beaumont Hospital-Wayne’s Vice President of Operations Jose M. Kottoor, “Playscape is a project to keep the families and children to be active and encourages them to be outdoors. With Beaumont Community Health Assessment implementation strategy to build healthier lives and communities, there couldn’t be a project better than this. We also see this project as promoting health in our community and population health. It also increases our visibility in the neighborhoods.” Jose states, “Beaumont is interested in the health and wellbeing of the communities around our campuses. We practice what we advocate for – healthier communities.”
The project could not have happened without Beaumont Health and Healthy Wayne who donated the new playscape. Northside Hardware donated any wood needed for the project. David Steinhauer and Professional Insurance donated breakfast (coffee, donuts and bagels) both days. Captain Nemo’s donated submarine sandwiches for lunch both days. Happy’s Pizza donated pizza both days. Fresh Choice donated water, Gatorade, pop and chips both days. The volunteers did not go hungry!
Children would not be enjoying the playscape right now without the many volunteers who gathered to help. Volunteers came from Beaumont Hospital, Healthy Wayne, Wayne Main Street, Friends: People Helping People, Wayne Parks and Trail committee members and their families, and members of the Wayne community. Volunteers also came from DPW, Wayne Fire Department, Wayne Police Department, members of the City Administration, Mayor John Rhaesa, Mayor Pro-Tem Tom Porter, Councilman Jeremiah Webster, Councilman Kevin Dowd and Councilwoman Kelly Skiff. All these people endured temperatures in the high 80s/low 90s while they worked to bring this playscape to life.
There will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate everyone who came together as a community to provide a special place for kids to play. The date has not yet been determined.