‘Playground for All Children' opens at Smith's Clove Park

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:49

    MONROE-Roscoe Smith would have enjoyed the festivities held on Thursday, June 9, when the "Playground for all Children" on Franklin Avenue officially opened for business. Despite threats of thunderstorms, the skies remained blue, and the rain held off; the traditional speeches and distribution of hot dogs prevailed. The event fulfilled the stipulation made by Roscoe Smith when he deeded the land to the town of Monroe: That it be used solely for the purpose of family recreation. The "Playground for all Children" took about two years to complete at a cost of about $100,000, which included grants from the Orange County Parks Department and the Monroe-Woodbury Community and donations from the Sons of the American Legion Post 488 and the Village Police PBA. It is only the second "handicapped-accessible" park in Orange County; the other is "Sally's Dream" in Montgomery. Allison Murphy, one of the town's wheelchair kids, smiled and giggled as she experienced the feeling of being on a swing. She laughingly hoped that the others who joined her wouldn't "get sick." Tom Kennedy, one of the staunch supporters of the playground as well as a representative from the Monroe-Woodbury Community Foundation, helped introduce the other rides to the young girl as her parents looked on. The children of those in attendance enjoyed the swings and explored the ramps that led to various fun spots in the play area. The Monroe Joint Park & Recreation Commission, a committee of five village and five town residents, is responsible for overseeing Smith's Clove Park events; funding for all park services and activities comes from the Town and Village of Monroe. Tony Cardone, chairman of the Commission, emceed the event. Among the speechmakers who, because of the heat, kept their remarks brief were Town Supervisor Sandy Leonard who thanked all those who worked so hard over the last two years to see the playground completed. Mayor Joe Mancuso who echoed her comments, adding that his political career began because he lived so close to the park and wanted to help improve it. Final remarks came from Anne Marie Morris, a member of the Monroe Joint Park and Recreation Commissioner, who coordinated the efforts to get the park built, including fundraising, researching playground equipment and safety regulations, collecting bids from competing companies and dealing with the occasional disappointments. "This was truly a labor of love," Morris said. "Please, I hope you all will enjoy the park." This story was provided by M.J. Hanley-Goff, the community events director for Smith's Clove Park.