The newly renovated South Ward Playground in Tamaqua has been bustling with activity as children try out the new playground equipment

The playground had been closed for renovations since September of last year. Organized by the South Ward Neighborhood Committee, the total renovation project cost about $350,000 and involved the construction of a community center, new playground equipment, basketball courts and installation of new park lighting and security cameras.

The project was funded by DCED Elm Street Grant ($125,000), Air Products ($25,000), Tamaqua Borough CDBG, Tamaqua Area Community Partnership and Tamaqua South Ward Playground Association.

South Ward Playground Association members Jackie Jones, president, and Lee Calkins, board of trustees, noted that the playground equipment, including a zip line, lily-pads walk, slides, monkey bars, swings and rock climbing, built by Playworld Industries, is all conducive to promoting physical fitness.

"About 24 inches of mulch surrounds the equipment, making the ground softer and safer for the children," Calkins said.

South Ward Playground Association volunteers plan to routinely open the concession stand and hold other events to raise more funds for the playground. These funds will help fund future playground events and repairs.

Kathy Kunkel, manager of the South Ward Neighborhood Committee, statted that the project couldn't have happened without the efforts of a number of individuals, including Sen. Dave Argall, Tamaqua Borough Council President Micah Gursky, and Tamaqua Councilman John Trudich.

She was also thankful for the patience shown by children of the community.