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The sandpit

From Jutta: the sandpit was put into the park in 1993. A bulldozer came and dug a hole about forty by twenty feet and two feet deep, and loaded the dark soil into a couple of Mack trucks, which took it away. A 15-inch layer of gravel was spread across the hole, and then the trucks returned with loads of fine, damp sand, and dumped it on top of the gravel bed. A city Forestry crew brought a crane and lowered sections of maple trunks into position around the sandpit to define the edges.

Then we collected long straight branches for fort-building, and ropes, and tipi cloths. We bought a dozen short-handled gardeners' spades, and kids began to build.

Human beings, as soon as they build, seem to have to mark off their property. The building projects were often impressive and the architecture was interesting and unorthodox. But for the first years of the sandpit there were daily struggles over turf, and sometimes the vibe was fierce. You stay out of here. This is my land.

All this changed, though. The city put in a water outlet near the sandpit, and the kids began to play in a different way.

When you want to make a river, you can't do it on your own. The water keeps flowing and the kids downstream have to dig, to let the river move. There can be branches in new directions, and dams, and bridges, and tunnels (under the logs that ringed the sandpit) and waterfalls, and interesting patterns of erosion. All of this engages the kids for hours, and the river flows best when they help each other.

That's what makes the adventure.

Supplies are needed

Last spring, the playground was taped off to keep children from playing there during covid 19. In summer it re-opened, the sandpit too, but there was no staff person to keep it stocked and working well. For this summer, it sounds like maybe a recreation staff person will be assigned to the playground. But the kids need shovels to dig, buckets and watering cans, and pieces of wood to build. Most important, they need to have lots of sand.

The city used to truck in a load of new sand twice a year, but not in the past few years. Maybe the funds are not there.

Is it time to have a fundraiser to get the supplies that help make the adventure playground so much fun?

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