In 2012, Mansfield Advocates for Children drafted and circulated a survey to determine the needs of families in Mansfield and how best to serve them. One result of this survey that caught MAC’s attention was the importance of playgrounds a place to connect to the community, and the fact that families didn’t think that there were enough playgrounds in town. A committee was formed and a group of local parents started working to make the Jeffrey P. Ossen Family Foundation Community Playground a reality. On October 10 and 11, 2015, members of the community got together and BUILT our wonderful new playground, located behind the Mansfield Community Center. Since it opened, it has been a central meeting place for families and a great source of exercise and play for local children.
The new Mansfield Community Playground differs from other playgrounds in town in a number of important ways- it is highly accessible to kids and caregivers with disabilities, with a “poured-in-place” surface that is easier to navigate than the usual woodchip base. As it is located behind the Mansfield Community Center, it has bathrooms for kids and parents to use. The location is also on the bus line, allowing families without access to a car the ability to visit the playground. And unlike playgrounds located at elementary schools, it is open all day long, all year long.
This playground is a place for community members of all backgrounds and abilities to meet and get to know one another. It’s not always easy to make connections, and we hope that creating this space for kids to run off some steam will benefit kids and caregivers alike.