By Terry Rogers
On December 4, 2013, Milford’s Can-Do Playground opened behind the Milford Boys & Girls Club in Milford’s Tony Silicato Memorial Park. The playground was a project undertaken by several local Rotary Clubs. Five years later, the playground is still bringing joy to children and families. It is especially important because the playground is designed so that children of all abilities can play outside.
“The playground has helped children as well as the City of Milford as it is a regional draw for children of all abilities,” Mary Betts of Milford Parks and Recreation. “It is 100 percent accessible, the first of its kind in Kent or Sussex County.”
The project began around 2003 when Wilmington area Rotary Clubs developed a mission to create the first Can-Do Playground in the state. The Rotary Club partnered with the Delaware Division of Parks and Recreation and the first Can-Do Playground opened on July 7, 2007 in the Alapocos Run State Park. The project was so successful, Rotary Clubs in central and southern Delaware decided to join forces to create a similar playground in southern Delaware.
In 2009, Milford was chosen as the location of the playground due to its central location and the Tony Silicato Memorial Park was chosen since it had a large open space, walking trails and sports fields. Initially, the playground was to be located in a wooded area between Delaware Hospice and the Boys and Girls Club. After discussing the location with the Boys and Girls Club whose playground was not yet completed, it was decided that the Can-Do Playground would better serve the public if they used some of the existing equipment.
Recently, five Kent and Sussex Rotary Clubs donated almost $6,000 to pay for repairs that were needed at the playground “The current repairs include replacing several parts that are showing signs of wear and tear,” Ms. Betts said. “These include the ever popular sand digger, the telescope and the big rope cable. At the present time, we have no plans to expand the playground as it is the largest Can-Do Playground in Delaware.”
Several years ago, Milford City Council approved the purchase and installation of a public bathroom that is located near the playground. Ms. Betts said the bathrooms are definitely a convenience for families who are using the playground. Prior to the purchase of the current bathroom, children and their families had to manage with a handicap-accessible portable restroom that was placed on the site.
Like all parks in Milford, the Can-Do Playground is open from dawn until dusk, seven days a week. There is no pre-registration or reservation required to use the program and it is open for children no matter their abilities.
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