High winds couldn't scare the ghouls, pirates and other Halloween creatures who wanted to explore the new playground opening at the Clauss Recreation Center on Tuesday.
Dozens of children in costume and their parents came for opening ceremony to mark the $165,000 upgrade of the popular park that features new slides and swings, simulated rock-climing areas and interactive, educational features.
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Roselle Park District Executive Director Rob Ward said the upgrade was necessary, since the playground at 555 W. Bryn Mawr is one of the most-used parks in the village and the previous playground was almost 18-years-old.
The playground is next to the recreation center that houses preschool programs, as well as four fields that can be used for baseball or softball. The fields can attract up to 1,000 people during weekend matches, Ward said.
Officials began planning the upgrade last winter, after receiving $50,000 grant to for infrastructure improvements from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. Initially, they hoped the project would be complete by May. But Ward said efforts to cut back on potential price tags that soared from $180,000 to $200,000 slowed the process.
"After getting community input our board felt we could still build a quality park and save some money in doing so," Ward said.
Previously the play equipment was only for children 6 and older. Now, there are playground components for ages 2-5, too, in addition to new seating for parents and shading for children at play.
The older playground was donated to Kids Around the World, a nonprofit group that re-purposes the equipment for playgrounds in developing countries.
With Halloween music streaming, children dressed in costumes climbed and ran throughout the park Tuesday, participated in a trunk-or-treat event in the parking lot and competed in holiday-themed contests.
Sharon Novak of Roselle, who came with her sons Eyon, 9, and Mason, 5, said the new playground is a vast improvement.
"I just love it," she said.