A dream nearly 15 years in the making will finally come true for the founders of Friends of Fleet Peeples Park this weekend.
As 120 volunteers flock to Fleet Peeples on Sunday morning to participate in a playground build funded by a “Let’s Play” grant by the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, they’ll be piecing together more than just a playset, said Friends of Fleet Peeples co-founder Ed Charles.
“It’s the fulfillment of a dream,” he said.
Since 1999 when Friends of Fleet Peeples Park formed, Charles said its members have worked toward the day when the park could be a true multipurpose play area for the community – parents, kids and dogs alike. As it stands today, dogs have their place to run free in the park, and families can come to stroll the Lake Baldwin Trail from Fleet Peeples, but, he said, kids have no place to play.
As volunteers assemble the park’s first playground piece-by-piece during Saturday’s build — from laying mulch to pouring concrete — they’ll be piecing together one of the last elements needed to make Fleet Peeples a full-service park.
“To have a place where you can take your kids and let them play … at the same time you can exercise your dog on a Saturday or Sunday morning. It makes the park very versatile for family use,” Charles said.
To learn more about the Fleet Peeples playground and the volunteer build on Saturday, March 2, visit cityofwinterpark.org/kaboom. To get involved with Friends of Fleet Peeples and keep up to date on the organization’s cleanups and events, visit ffpp.org
Thanks to the “Let’s Play” grant, given to the city of Winter Park in June of last year after being named one of 25 Playful City USA cities, the project manager for the city’s parks department, Leif Bouffard, said the city is also able to fulfill a goal of it’s own – having a playground within a mile of every Winter Park resident.
“We try to have a playground within a mile of every Winter Park resident, and this was a zone where that wasn’t the case,” Bouffard said. “… We’re very excited to get this up and completed.”
And in eight hours on Saturday, with the aid of city and Friends of Fleet Peeples volunteers and a park surveyor’s oversight, the nature-themed KaBOOM! playground with swing-set, monkey bars and slide should be a reality. That, in addition to having newly installed handicap accessible bathrooms in the park set to open in March, Bouffard said, will make Fleet Peeples truly a park the whole community can enjoy.
“It’ll bring a new playground to a park that’s never had one, and hopefully it’ll encourage kids who’ve never wanted to come to Fleet Peeples with their families before to come out and play,” Bouffard said. “… Now it’s really going to be a park for the whole family.”