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New park and accessible playground coming to Drayton

The approximately $180,000 project also includes nature trails and a lookout

MAPLETON - A new riverside park complete with an accessible playground, nature trails and a lookout is coming to Drayton.

At Tuesday night's meeting, Mapleton council agreed to finance $100,000 of the project upfront, to be paid back by the Drayton Rotary Club over the next five years. The club has already raised an additional approximately $25,000.

Meanwhile, the playground supplier, locally-based Earthscape Play Inc. has also agreed to provide a $55,363 discount on the equipment. 

"This is sure to be another gem for Mapleton," Bob Bignell of the Drayton Rotary Club told the meeting. 

The park development will be located at the end of Drayton Queen Street on land donated by Prior Construction. 

As Mapleton manager of parks and facilities Lucas Rogerson explained to council, the area is "quite unique," being relatively hilly and situated directly adjacent to the Conestoga River in a floodplain. 

"It provides many challenges to come up with a design that maintains the natural integrity," Rogerson said. 

Earthscape's playgrounds, which use natural materials and innovative approaches to play, fit the bill, he explained. 

"It's a very unique structure, something we don't have around this area," Rogerson said.

The "log tangle" playground to be installed at the site features a climbing wall, balancing apparatuses, a large rope climbing net, a slide and more.

Rubber ramps and a transfer bench mean all the structure's high points are accessible to children with mobility devices like wheel chairs. 

"One of the things we try to do is allow everybody to have access to all the play opportunities," Geoff Rhebergen of Earthscape told the meeting. "We don't want to, if somebody has a mobility device, say 'here's the play panel and the sensory panel' and that's the extent of their play."

Rhebergen said the company, which is based in Wallenstein, is pleased to partner with Mapleton on the project "in our own backyard." 

Future phases of development at the park could include gardens, pollinator plants, trees and benches. At Tuesday's meeting, council discussed allocating money from a reserve fund to these or other items like improved pathways as part of initial construction. A final decision will be made at a later date. 

Council members expressed excitement about the project and gratitude to the Rotary Club for making it happen.

"This park is going to be a wonderful addition to the township of Mapleton," Mayor Gregg Davidson said. "And as mayor and council we're very pleased with all the work you're doing to shape up this town." 

Construction on the new park development is scheduled to start in early 2022 and be completed later that year, Rogerson said.

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