Our Views: Rally to rebuild Janesville's CAMDEN Playground

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Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Palmer Park playground known as CAMDEN has delighted children for 20 years. When a nonprofit foundation raised $300,000 and rounded up volunteer crews to build this handicapped-accessible playground, it was innovative.

Sherry Kuelz is president and co-founder of the CAMDEN Foundation that built the playground named for her nephew, who has special needs. She and her family led the project so Camden could play with other kids. Now, says Kuelz, more than 150 playgrounds have been built around the world using this one as a model.

After 20 years and despite periodic updates, the Palmer Park playground is showing its age. Some wood decks are splintering, and other features are broken. Organizers would like to replace fiber chips with rubber mats.

The city has agreed to offer a reasonable $70,000 if the foundation can raise another $30,000. An architect will study needs and might recommend up to half of the playground for renovations or replacement starting next fall.

Given the thousands of local children who have enjoyed hours of fun playing at CAMDEN, we're confident that their families—as well as those who generously donated money, sweat and equipment to build it—will rally to the renovation cause.

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