Jonathon's Dream Reimagined: Accessible Playground Open Again
Originally built in 1996, 'Jonathon's Dream', was a playground created as a place where children of differing abilities could come and play together. But, it was also built as a way that the family of little Jonathon Peter Barzach, who passed away prior to his first birthday, could grieve his sad loss. Barzach had a degenerative muscular disease and his family lost him at just 9 months. "When Jonathon's diagnosis became terminal, a counselor suggested the family dedicate a project in his memory," said Ronit Shoham, a co-founder of the Miracle League of Connecticut. Shoham and many, many others (mostly volunteers) have been working hard to make a new Jonathon's Dream playground a reality. Be sure to check out some of the other boundless playgrounds in Fairfield and Hartford.
The original Jonathon's Dream became a destination playground for many. Made entirely of wood, it featured several different and unique play areas. But, it had to be closed in 2012 because of decay.It took five years for funds to be raised to create a new playground which is more modern and more fully accessible and will, of course, last decades. "The new Jonathons's Dream will extend the [family] legacy with an engaging playground that keeps children of all ages and abilities active and moving," said Shoham. The playground will expand the theme established with the first playground but feature many new and modern playground amenities - all fully fenced in for safety.
The park's grand opening is October 22 at 12:30 and the public is welcome!
Children will enjoy:
A tree house area.
Roller-style slides (useful for children with cochlear implants as regular slides create static electricity shorting their implants.)
Basketball court with 10 hoops at varying heights for players of all heights and abilities.
-Two zip lines, one with a zip-sled for seated individuals.
-A Jeep to play in
-Swings with high back swings
-Places to climb
-Shaded places to picnic and sit
-A buddy bench
"Jonathon's Dream is a place to celebrate the lives of people of differing abilities," said Shoham.
Improvements will continue to be made after the opening including QR codes to tell users about each piece of equipment and an accessible bathroom on-site.
Photos by: J. Coe and A. Sommers