Twenty years ago, on a day in April, the people of Benicia pulled together to start building a playground in the town’s signature park.
This April some of those volunteers, possibly a few special guests and lots of children will gather to celebrate that time at the Playground of Dreams, exactly two decades to the day after it was born.
“It’s a birthday party for a hunk of wood and sand, but it’s also a reminder how much fun we had creating it,” says Dan Smith, general coordinator of Operation Playground back in 1991 and ’92. “With so many people having worked for a year to plan ‘the build,’ it was a pretty great week to live in Benicia.”
Members of the original core committee of Operation Playground have planned the April 29 celebration with the assistance of the city Parks and Community Services Department, which is providing a cake for the affair.
The playground will be closed for one day, April 14, so volunteers can complete minor maintenance in preparation for the birthday party.
“We'll be repainting the safety stripes and other features, plus doing a few more cleanup chores,” says Sue Sumner-Moore, Operation Playground co-coordinator and organizer of the playground “tune up.” ”The place is holding up pretty well though. City Parks staff said that with routine maintenance, they expect the playground to be around for families to enjoy for many years to come.”
The party starts at 3 p.m. April 29 at the playground near the corner of West Second and K streets. Besides a little singing and some cake, an open microphone forum is planned so people can share reminisces about the “build week,” April 29 – May 3, 1992.
Everyone is invited, and anyone with ideas for the party is encouraged to call Dan Smith at 747-6706. For information about the workday, call Sue Sumner-Moore at 746-5045.