The children of Factoryville dreamed it and now their dreams are about to come true.
Several months ago, students from Lackawanna Trail Elementary Center, as well as the preschools at Keystone College and the Factoryville United Methodist Church, were asked to design what their "dream park" would look like for a planned playground at the Factoryville Borough/Clinton Township Joint Municipal Park at 154 Creek Road in Clinton Twp.
There was one recurring theme in the more than 500 designs received by borough officials - a tree house.
"A lot of kids drew designs that looked like towers or tree houses, so when we did our design, we tried to incorporate that tree house look," said Sadie Rozenburg, grant writer for Factoryville Borough. "That tree house will be three stories high. There's still more that we want to do; this is just phase one."
Rozenburg explained that Factoryville recently received a $20,000 "Let's Play" grant from Dr. Pepper Snapple Group and KaBOOM!, a national non-profit organization dedicated to getting children outdoors. The borough was only one of 217 municipalities across the country named a "Playful City USA" by KaBOOM! earlier this year. The $20,000 grant will go toward constructing the children's "dream" tree house, complete with sliding boards, jungle gyms and other kid-approved novelties.
Rozenburg explained that the next step toward making the children's dreams a reality includes a community park build on May 3, 2014. Since the total playground cost is $84,282, Rozenburg has also applied to the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development for an additional grant through its Greenways, Trails and Recreation program, which will be decided on in November.
"My daughter plays soccer every Saturday at that park and I see how much a playground like this is needed," Rozenburg said. "There are tons of kids just waiting for their siblings with nothing to do besides nature. It would be great for them to have a place to actually play."
Besides the joint municipal park, Factoryville is also home to Christy Mathewson Park as well as the park at the Lackawanna Trail Elementary Center on College Avenue. The borough has already hosted a "Day of Play" to raise funds for park improvement in the borough and plans on hosting additional fundraisers in 2014.
"We want people from other municipalities, like Clarks Summit and Tunkhannock, to visit our park. We want to make it into a destination playground that people get excited about coming to," Rozenburg said. "The community response has been wonderful; everyone is excited and they want to get out their shovels and get digging."
Rozenburg added that anyone who would like to get involved with the Factoryville Playground Taskforce, which oversees the borough's parks, is invited to meetings, which are held the fourth Wednesday of every month at 6 p.m. at the Factoryville Borough Building, 161 College Ave. The next meeting of the taskforce will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 23.
For more information, visit the borough's website at www.factoryville.org or call Rozenburg at 570-702-2779.