Thompson Park boosts playground attendance

The City’s Parks and Recreation Department added Thompson Park to its city summer playground program.Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

WATERTOWN — Logan Holland and his younger sister Anabella were laying on a turquoise towel after playing in the splash pad at Thompson Park on Wednesday.

Earlier, they worked on some crafts, ate lunch and hung out at the historic park’s playground while participating in the city’s annual summer Parks and Recreation Department’s summer playground program.

It’s the first time that the city rec program opened a formal playground at Thompson Park, joining five others this summer. Two city pools also are open.

Attendance is up at the city’s summer playgrounds, partly because of the addition of Thompson Park in the program, said Scott M. Weller, assistant superintendent of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department.

The Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds and North Elementary School playgrounds are back this summer. At the urging of Councilman Cody J. Horbacz, council members agreed during the budget season to add North Hamilton, Portage and Academy streets.

As required by the state Department of Health, parents had to register their children only at the fairgrounds, Thompson Park and North Elementary.

So far, 125 children have attended those playgrounds, Mr. Weller said.

“It’s been a good group of kids, a good staff and good weather,” he said.

Lunch, provided by the Community Action Planning Council of Jefferson County, is available at all six playgrounds.

Three playground counselors — Erin Parks, 20; Emily Lumbis, 18; and Sophia Voss, 15 — coordinate the days’ activities every day at Thompson Park.

As many as 10 children show up to play.

Not only do they hang out at the splash pad, but Thompson Park also has a larger playground and they can hide from rain underneath the iconic pavilion.

In the morning, the children generally work on crafts and get together for some ball games before eating lunch at noon and heading over to the splash pad in the afternoon.

“It’s kind of up to them, within reason,” Emily Lumbis said.

Logan, 12, and his 6-year-old sister go to the Thompson Park playground every day it’s open. Last summer, they attended the North Elementary playground, which has access to a swimming pool.

“I like it better here,” Logan said.

Staffed by 22 seasonal employees, the playgrounds are open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. until Aug. 9.

Mr. Weller hopes that enough lifeguards will remain working this summer, so that the pools can stay open until Labor Day.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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(1) comment

rdsouth

Are they going to be allowed to keep the playground open? After all, we need to spend a bunch of money keeping the handicapped from feeling that we have to go out of our way to take care of them.

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