Allentown’s Franklin Park playground received a fast face-lift Saturday originating from a small army of volunteers who assembled $70,000 of the latest play equipment in two . 5 hours, as opposed to the expected five hours.
At 7 a.m., city workmen unloaded the many parts for any new equipment. “By 7:30, pieces already were working together,” said the Rev. Maritza Torres Dolich, outreach pastor of St. Stephen Outreach Center of Christ Lutheran Church, Allentown.
When Mayor Ed Pawlowski arrive at 10:30 a.m., volunteers were packing up their tools.
“I thought I’d be here on time to do my part and work off some weight,” Pawlowski said. “I actually am great at building playground equipment since i helped using a volunteer project that established playgrounds in Haiti.”
The bright green play equipment contains a jungle of slides, ramps, ladders, climbing walls and ropes, overhead parallel bars plus more.
A few weeks, city workmen will secure everything with concrete and pour a 3-inch rubber play surface, Allentown Parks superintendent Rick Holtzman said.
“Franklin Park’s equipment was really old we couldn’t even get replacement parts,” he said.
Funding for that new equipment was supplied by the Trexler Trust Fund.
The five-year-plan for that little city park that’s bordered by 14th, Franklin, Emmett and Russell streets includes the introduction of a physical fitness walk around its perimeter, a greater community garden, the planting more trees, renovation with the covered pavilion and set up of a “splash” fountain.
Dolich said a system that “releases cooling mist within the touch of the mouse,” soon might be installed.
Christ Lutheran Church members, Congregations United for Neighborhood Action and union construction workers through the Lehigh Valley Construction and Trades Council and neighborhood residents volunteered their time.
“The park is hugely liked by neighborhood children. I enjoy sit out and view them play. It’s a good position for me to have some outdoors,” said Barbara Petro of 45 S. 16th St., who checked together with volunteers and doled out refreshments.
“I’m really getting excited about trying out the slides,” she confided.
While construction teams worked, another crew did cleanup. Caroline Creamer, a mom with two children who utilize park, spent her time pulling weeds.
“It looks nicer and sends an email you will find people here that care,” said Creamer, of 36 N. 12th St.