Prospect Park debuts new equipment

After a ribbon cutting ceremony Wednesday to mark the recent completion of a playground complex at Prospect Park, Andilena Ciavarella descended one of the sliding boards next to her 4-year old niece, with her 2-year-old son nearby.

“Awesome,” said Ciavarella a few minutes later. “For big kids and little kids.”

Among the science-based features of the complex are steeply angled sliding boards that prevent the annoying stall that kids complained about to researchers in Dallas and Alabama, where manufacturer GameTime collected its design data, said Denny Bolitho, regional sales representative.

The sliding boards make for a smooth descent, but the project itself was anything but smooth.

“Challenging,” said Mike Hofer, executive director of the Central Blair Park and Recreation Commission and member of the Booker T. Washington Revitalization Corp., speaking as master of ceremonies, under a new pavilion where parents can relax in the shade while kids frolic on accessible slides, climb stairs, sway on a rope bridge, mount an artificial rock and clatter across bridges and ramps made of thick-gauge steel covered with non-fade blue plastic.

The challenges were numerous, but the chief one was an aborted weekend volunteer effort to install posts, after workers discovered that a high percentage were pre-drilled on the wrong side, due to erroneous instructions sent to the factory by a distributor’s representative, who didn’t account for a mirror-image layout reversal designed to take

advantage of the terrain at Prospect.

“I don’t even want to hear the term ‘mirror image,'” Hofer said.

The complex may be the biggest in Blair County, Hofer said.

Her 2-year-old typically “doesn’t stay interested in something for more than 30 seconds,” Ciavarella said. “(But) he’s in heaven (here),” she said.

Ciavarella’s niece, Izzie Wills, shyly rocking on her feet and nodding gravely, said the complex was “good.”

Ciavarella wasn’t satisfied with Izzie’s answer.

“Isn’t it the most awesome park?” she asked.

Yes, it is, Izzie said.

Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 949-7038.