Georgetown’s first community playground fit for fun – and bookworms!

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With ribbon-holding assistance from Georgetown Mayor Bill West and Town Clerk Angie Townsend, Georgetown town councilwoman Chris Lecates, president of the King Street Playground Committee, cuts the ribbon at Thursday’s dedication of the new playground that also features a Little Free Library. (Sussex County Post/Glenn Rolfe).

GEORGETOWN – The Town of Georgetown’s first community playground was officially christened Thursday, Aug. 27.

And already it’s infested with bookworms!

With final stages of fencing completed, officials formally dedicated the King Street Playground – which in addition to swings and assorted playground apparatus features a Little Free Library.

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State Rep. Ruth Briggs King and children check out the books to read in the Little Free Library at the new King Street Playground that was officially dedicated Thursday.

“The playground provides opportunities for a healthy body … a healthy mind,” said Georgetown town councilwoman Chris Lecates, who spearheaded the playground project. “It fosters creativity and imaginative play. All of these components greatly increase a child’s chance for success in life. And isn’t that something we all want.”

The idea for the playground – located on town-owned property where condemned houses once stood – was hatched in 2012.

A six-member committee – Becky Breasure, Linda Thompson, Angie Townsend, Mayor Bill West, Bo Shockley and Ms. Lecates – sought a location.

“And as it so happened the Town of Georgetown had these two lots. They were empty and just waiting for a purpose,” said Ms. Lecates, the committee’s president.

The next phase was design, incorporating a variety of play-stations and activities followed by an initial community pitch for financial support.

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Swings are some of the amenities at the new King Street Playground in Georgetown.

Letters were sent to local businesses and residents.

“And they were very supportive in this project,” said Ms. Lecates.

But upon further review, given the projected cost of what was planned, “we realized it was very obvious we were going to have to have other sources of funding,” said Ms. Lecates. “In 2013, we created the Georgetown Playground and Park – a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization. With the success of the grants we were able to reach our goal for what you see here today – a true community playground.”

The playground is open from 8 a.m. until dark.

“We thought dusk might be hard to interpret, because we remember when we played when we were children, you came in when the street lights came on,” said Ms. Lecates.

Signage is in both English and Spanish.

King Street Playground’s Little Free Library is part of a worldwide non-profit effort to “promote literacy and a love of reading for children. We thought ‘what a perfect spot.’”

The Little Free Library is stocked with donated gently used books.

Children have an option of reading the book at the playground and then returning it to its little library house.

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Sponsorship support is found on a sign at the new King Street Playground in Georgetown. The playground opened in late May and was formally dedicated Thursday with completion of fencing.

“You find a book. You take and read the book and then you can return the book. But if you ‘love’ the book, you get to keep the book,” said Ms. Lecates. “so we have been collecting gently-used children’s books and we are going to be re-stocking this every week, year-round. Most books are in English; I do have some bilingual. I am promoting English and for the benefit of how they will work in school. I think children are very receptive to picking up English as a language easier than adults.”

Children’s books for donation can be dropped off in a bin at Georgetown Town Hall on The Circle or by calling Ms. Lecates at 228-8449.

Levels of monetary support recognized at the dedication included:

Founder: Arsht-Cannon Fund, Delaware Community Foundation, DNREC, Perdue.

Benefactor: AP Croll & Son, Inc., Georgetown Police Department, Dorothy Robertson in memory of her brother Eben Alden Townsend III, Walmart.

Investor: Degree of Pocahontas Anona Council 11, Robert and Dr. Eileen Kelly Gredone, Harrison Senior Living, M & T Bank, Brent Marsh, McDonald’s, Donna Owens and children, Carol B. Thomas and Robin L. Parker.

Government: State. Sen. Brian Pettyjohn, State. Rep. Ruth Briggs King, Sussex County Council, Chris Lecates/Georgetown Town Council.

The playground, which cost close to $90,000, actually opened this past Memorial Day.

“The fencing just got completed last week. It came in stages,” said Ms. Lecates. “We wanted to put in a quality fence and I think it shows. It’s something the whole town can be proud of.”

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at grolfe@newszap.com

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