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‘Kid’s Kingdom’ Design Day Friday

A room full of elementary children sat opened-eyed and quiet.Despite their fidgety nature and uncontrollable impulses to whisperor giggle, they sat still and listened.

They were listening to a story told by eighth grade studentsfrom Alexander Junior High. A story set in Brookhaven in whichchildren are the main characters and create the ending. The storyis about building a family park in Brookhaven — a park designedentirely by the children of our community.

“Parents of young children spoke to us about their desire tohave more family parks in Brookhaven,” said Mrs. Linda Kergosien,AJH Quest teacher. “After that, we visited a similar park andinvestigated how to get things started.”

The park, like others built in surrounding communities, willfeature anything that a child could imagine. Slides, tunnels,swings, castles, monkey bars, and bridges are just a few featuresthat area elementary students have already requested. The park,built from pressure treated wood, will contain attractive andinteresting areas in which children can play.

The eighth grade students contacted Dr. Don Doty about the parkproject, since he had spoken to them in class about the need for anoutdoor, family recreational area in Brookhaven. Once the fundingis secured for the park, volunteers of all ages will be asked tomeet and actually build the park.

“We want people to know that anyone can show up during thosedays and help with the construction,” Kergosien said. “You do nothave to be a carpenter to help build this park, this is aunification effort and there are many ways to help at theplayground site during that time.”

In late April, representatives from Kergosien’s class visitedwith Brookhaven Elementary, Mamie Martin and Brookhaven Academystudents to elect a name for the park during “Name the Park Day.”Within their classes, names were nominated and voted upon andfinally, the name, “Kid’s Kingdom” was chosen.

“We wanted to choose a name during the beginning stage of theproject so that we could build the structures around that theme,”said Stephen Davis, student co-chairman of the park project. “Therewere a lot of suggestions by all of the students, but this one willgive us a great start for many possibilities.”

But student involvement is not over. In fact, it has just begun.A playground architect from New York will be drawing the plans forthe park at Brookhaven Elementary on Friday, May 18, for “DesignDay.”

During the day, the architect will meet with 210 students fromboth Martin Elementary and BES to discuss their specific ideas for”Kid’s Kingdom.” During group meetings with 70 students, he willask students for their ideas about the park. After two hours ofmeetings, the architect will set up in the Brookhaven Elementarycafeteria to incorporate the students’ suggestions into the initialsketching of the park. At this time, students at lunch will be ableto watch the beginning stage of development. Later that afternoon,the drawing will be completed and presented for the community at anunveiling reception from 7-8 p.m. in the elementary auditorium.

“This reception is a chance for everyone in the community toview the finished plans for the park and sign up for committees ifthey want to volunteer for the next step,” said Sally Doty. “Allindividuals and families are invited to come to this openhouse.”

Committees have been formed for the ongoing park project andinclude fundraising, volunteers, donated materials, food, publicrelations, purchased materials, design and special needs, tools,and childcare, which will supervise volunteers’ children on siteduring construction.

“We hope to begin our construction before the end of the year,”Kergosien said. “We hope all types of individuals and families willvolunteer in this community effort.”