will begin in April on a Lakeland playground to be devoted solely to
young families with toddlers ages 3 to 5. The Sunflower Preschool
Playground is to be completed in time for its grand opening on Dec. 4,
"We are very eager to start this play opportunity,"
says Bill Tinsley, director of Lakeland Parks
. "We have
already started some preliminary design of the park and we know it is
going to feature unique playground equipment that is currently not
available in our community. Young families are going to be thrilled when
this park is completed."
The Sunflower Preschool Playground
is to be built
in the Mirror Lake district at Barnett
, named for Carol and
Barney Barnett of Lakeland. Mrs. Barnett is the daughter of George
Jenkins, founder of Publix
. It is hoped that the toddler
playground will augment the success of the Common
, another Lakeland city park.
Ground is just so successful and
crowded, you can barely find a place to park," explains Weezie Vreeland,
who is spearheading fundraising for the project." And once the older
children come, it's hard for toddlers to keep up. We just thought it
would be nice to give the little ones their own space."
to Vreeland, the planned equipment is designed specifically for
toddlers to provide a sense of comfort and spatial stability, especially
for children with disabilities such as autism. In addition, the plans
provide for plenty of shade and room for strollers, as well as an
18-foot square sandbox and other amenities to suit young families.
The project funds grew from a memorial fund for Vreeland's
grandson, John Kyle, who died in 2008. Additional funds have been raised
by the Lakeland Rotary and Kiwanis clubs, as well as private donors.
Source: Weezie Vreeland, Sunflower