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February 20, 2003

PB couple pitch in for Boundless Playground

From: Palm Beach Daily News, FL - 20 Feb 2003

By DAVID ROGERS, Daily News Staff Writer

Friday, Feb. 21, 2003 — By fall, a colorful, 12,850-square-foot playground for children with and without disabilities should be in place on a two-and-a-half-acre site at the north end of John Prince Park in Lake Worth.

A Palm Beach couple is a primary force behind the regional park, as was the case with a smaller playground dedicated in November at the Easter Seals headquarters and preschool in West Palm Beach

Barbara Picower said Thursday that the Picower Foundation will give $200,000 toward the $400,000 Boundless Playground.

The donation matches a gift pledged last year by the Quantum Foundation, a West Palm Beach foundation that supports health care and education programs in the county.

In January, the County Commission approved $300,000 to develop the site, which will include installing the equipment, a support surface, irrigation and landscaping. The county also will build a parking lot and a picnic pavilion, said Tim Granowitz, principal planner with the county Parks and Recreation Department.

The Picowers made their donation after the county and the Boundless Playgrounds organization committed to putting the playground in place before the end of 2003.

With this donation, the longtime Palm Beachers have contributed $575,000 to support the design and equipping of Boundless Playgrounds in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Palm Beach County.

"My husband (Jeffry) and myself and the foundation really feel we are fortunate to bring the concept of Boundless Playgrounds to Palm Beach County and to increase its scope," Picower said. "Different types of children will be able to play together. That's the philosophy of Boundless Playgrounds, and we're pleased this will bring that to Palm Beach County in a large way."

Boundless Playgrounds is a 5-year-old program based in Bloomfield, Conn., that works with communities to create playgrounds for children of different ages and developmental levels. As of spring, there will be 60 Boundless Playgrounds in 20 states, Programs Director Leslyn Clark said.

Children who have limited mobility or are wheelchair-bound often cannot use traditional playgrounds.

The regional park, to be called the Picower/Quantum Boundless Playground, will be located near the Lake Worth Road entrance to John Prince Park. One section will be for children with the physical abilities typical of preschoolers; another part will be for children with abilities typical of 5- to 12-year-olds. A third part will be a waist-high sand and water play station.

The first two portions will feature play panels with buttons for pressing, talk tubes, turning wheels, wide slides and ramps, and swings with protective high-back seats.

The choice of materials for one of the slides will make it usable for hearing-impaired children who have cochlear implants, said Steven Iovanna, program and scheduling manager for Boundless Playgrounds.f+b

f-b"Instead of being plastic, it's a metal-roller slide," Iovanna said. "The plastic slides create a static charge that deprograms the cochlear implant."

The Quantum and Picower foundation gifts will establish the core of the playground. The 2.5-acre space allotted to the playground will allow it to grow with future donations, said Quantum Foundation spokeswoman Trudy McConnell of Palm Beach.

The park will do more than allow disabled children to use playground equipment, Picower said.

"It's going to be a beautiful park," she said. "We are sure there will be great opportunities for both types of children to play and interact — and get over their stereotypes of one another. It doesn't get any better."


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