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Lee Park inclusive playground equipment gets more funding

Kiwanis Playworld community campaign secures $20,000 in additional funding
Playworld Cheque Kiwanis JBrousseauCOConnorRCelentano
Ralph Celentano, Councillor Johanne Brousseau, and President Caleb O’Connor. ClubPlay World cheque donation. Photo Credit Angela Dawson, Kiwanis Club.


Kiwanis Club of Nipissing members represented by President Caleb O’Connor formally presented a $ 63,000 cheque to the City of North Bay Chair of Community Services Councillor Johanne Brousseau for the Kiwanis Playworld Inclusive Playground equipment installation at Lee Park.

The club’s playground equipment campaign secured additional funding from two foundations which will bring the playground equipment campaign total to surpass $83,000.

“At the time of our August 15 ‘ground-breaking’ day at Lee Park, the fundraising campaign had not been finalized as we were awaiting a few other activities to conclude before this announcement could be made," says O'Connor. "This cheque presented to the City is for our continued commitment to the families and children of North Bay. We appreciate all of the dedication and hard work by city staff and our Kiwanis volunteers in order to revitalize this area of our waterfront.  This enhanced park is multi-generational, for children of all abilities to join parents and grandparents to create a new destination recreational space in the community.”

“The transformation of the site over the past 60 days has truly been remarkable," comments Kiwanis Playground Equipment Committee Chair Ralph Celentano. 

"What started as a vision by Kiwanis members and Parks staff over a dozen years ago, suggesting the next installation - Phase Three – be one that is to be inclusive and fully accessible for children. I’m proud of the role our committee has played to achieve this next to existing accessible washrooms, park benches, and free parking."

Celentano continued ‘This Kiwanis ‘Young Children Priority One’ legacy project is possible thanks to the families purchasing Kiwanis Park Benches plus a few other recent fundraising activities, namely a Kiwanis charity volleyball tournament and the Lucky 13 Charities Golf Tournament. The two foundation gifts are a testament to the commitment these families have towards enhancing the lives of our area youth and their quality of life. Knowing this new equipment installation would require wide ramps, specialized swings, gliders, spinners and sensory areas fully accessible, the committee was prepared to raise additional dollars and we are grateful that our community partners agreed to support this project.  It’s been great to see the neighbourhood kids anxiously await the return of this park for all to enjoy," adds Celentano. 

City Parks staff have led this project and enhanced Lee Park to be a multi-generational play space adding outdoor fitness equipment adjacent to the inclusive children’s play structure.  Celentano says City Parks Manager David Schroeder mobilized his entire team who have accomplished this project by working with some tight timelines and utilizing the expertise of their playground technician, shop technicians and special projects crew through August and September.

The playground will remain closed for the remainder of this season as it is still deemed a worksite.  More work is needed to complete the project including a final layer of the playground’s rubberized safety surface, additional perimeter fencing, accessible asphalt pathway and landscaping before the park will be fully re-opened to the public. 

An official grand re-opening of this area of Lee Park will occur when the warmer weather returns in the late spring of 2020.