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Journey toward ‘Kid’s Kingdom’ begins

Parents and children got a glimpse Friday of how a new cityplayground will appear following Design Day activities atBrookhaven Elementary School.

John Dean, playground architect, got design help for “Kid’sKingdom” from around 250 students during several classes.

“By the time I got through with just the first class, I hadenough ideas to build 20 of these playgrounds,” Dean told anaudience of around 75 adults and children.

To help with design, students drew pictures of various thingsthey’d like to see on the playground. Ideas included a dragon witha tongue slide, tree fort, aquarium, rock climb and the “mostspectacular castle you’ve ever seen,” Dean said.

Dean’s architect rendering included a castle maze, a mirror mazefun house, obstacle course and a tire swing.

The playground is expected to be built in March during afive-day “barn-raising” event on some donated property offIndustrial Park Road behind the Lincoln County Health Department.Dean said hundreds of volunteers and tools, along with somefund-raising, will be needed to build the playgrounds.

“It’s amazing to see these things happen,” said Dean, who alongwith architect associates have seen over 1,400 playgrounds built inall states except North Dakota.

Dean said Brookhaven has a strong sense of community. Stressingthe importance of volunteers and commitment, he said some of thebiggest playgrounds are built in small communities while some ofthe smallest are built in large cities.

“It’s not a matter of money. It’s a matter of community,” Deansaid.

Brookhaven’s Dr. Don Doty, who helped spawn the playground ideaduring a visit to Linda Kergosien’s Quest class at Alexander JuniorHigh School, was pleased with the reception Dean received.

“It’s going to happen and it’s going to be fantastic,” Doty saidabout the playground. “This is something that Brookhaven reallyrevels in.”