Palatine playground finds new home in Guatemala
Palatine Park District has more than 50 parks and facilities located within its boundaries. Included among these are 29 playgrounds that offer climbing structures, slides, swings and fun for children.
Palatine Park District's current playground replacement schedule allows for one to two of these to be renovated each year, which results in playgrounds being renovated every 14-16 years.
In 2021, Maple Park was scheduled for renovation to install a newly designed playground that incorporates the latest state-of-the-art components. The physical fitness components help drive active behavior and engage children to learn and enjoy physical activity. Additionally, the playground includes play panels and musical components to facilitate learning development.
The previous playground was a combination of components designed to assist with preschool programs and activities and incorporated features specifically targeted for residents with disabilities.
In an effort to recycle this playground equipment, Palatine Park District works with Kids Around The World in the removal and deconstruction phase. Kids Around the World is an organization that understands the power of play and the impact it can have on a community.
One of their ongoing projects is to recycle playgrounds. To date, Kids Around the World has built more than 900 playgrounds in 27 countries, which has impacted the lives of more than 83.5 million children. Palatine Park District recently received the news that the equipment from Maple Park was installed in Guatemala this fall.
The donation process begins when a team from Kids Around the World is brought on-site to remove the playground equipment from the park scheduled for renovation.
"The removal process is really helpful for us (Palatine Park District) because Kids Around The World removes the old playground free of charge," said Jim Holder, superintendent of Parks and Planning.
The equipment is then refurbished and sent to a new location for installation.
"They (Kids Around The World) work with the manufacturer to donate replacement parts, reinforce and repaint the equipment so it can be reused anywhere in the world," Holder said.
A community build is often held at the new location with the help of the families that will use the refurbished equipment.
Palatine Park District's Executive Director Mike Clark is "excited that the park district is a participant in this initiative. To know that a playground, which would have ended up sold for scrap or in a landfill, will be installed somewhere in the world and provide opportunity and happiness to kids less fortunate than those in our community is extremely gratifying."
Maple Park is in the east region of Palatine at the corner of E. Anderson Drive and N. Winston Drive, with the west boundary being a creek created from Lake Louise. Palatine Park District acquired the property in 1960 as part of a developer's donation.
The park is seven acres and features several amenities, including a park district operated preschool facility, a baseball field, a newly renovated basketball court, a fall-season soccer field, a new shelter, a newly installed PlayCore adult fitness park, and a state-of-the-art playground that was installed in June of 2021.
For information about the Maple Park Playground project or playground donation, contact Community Outreach Coordinator JP McNamara at (847) 496-6246 or visit www.palatineparks.org/rccms.