New Plans For 'Jonathan's Dream' Playground


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The Mandell Jewish Community Center in West Hartford is planning to modernize it's well-known Jonathan's Dream Playground and is asking for "brainstorming help" from the community during a public forum scheduled for Thursday, May 23rd at 6:00pm.

See portions of a press release below to find out how you can contribute to this discussion.

Effective immediately, the playground on the Zachs Campus, 335 Bloomfield Ave., West Hartford, CT, will be closed to the community while the space is deconstructed and refurbishment plans are developed. A free gathering entitled Imagine What Could Be, will take place at the Mandell JCC, and unveil potential play-area concepts, and will solicit community feedback from children and adults. Imagine What Could Be will be held on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 6:00 p.m.

Jonathan’s Dream was originally developed in 1996 by West Hartford residents, the Barzach family, to celebrate the life and memory of their son, Jonathan. The playground was the first of its kind, designed to welcome all children, regardless of their physical abilities. The decision to redesign the playground, which coincides with what would have been Jonathan’s 19th birthday, is the result of an annual safety inspection earlier this year. “Playgrounds typically have a lifespan of 15- to 20-years,” commented Amy Jaffe Barzach, creator of Jonathan’s Dream. “We were anticipating a modification to the playground at some point. We’re embracing this as an opportunity. Jonathan’s Dream is growing up.”

The Mandell JCC professional staff and lay leaders envision a new, all-abilities inclusive, active and engaging space to be built on the site of the current playscape. A plan of potential layouts will be unveiled to the community at the Imagine What Could Be gathering on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 6:00 p.m., facilitated by Shane’s Inspiration. An estimated timeline of the revamp process will also be available at the gathering. 

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