By all accounts, the city of Trenton's grand reopening of the renovated Jenkins Park playground on Saturday was a big hit with its intended patrons. Mayor Alex Case and City Clerk Lucretia Houts estimated that from the event's opening at 10 a.m., attendance coming and going had reached a couple of thousand, and when The Planet arrived at 2 p.m. for the bicycle drawing, the grounds were still teeming with the under-12 crowd. Children swung in the new swings and slid down the new slides, and Mayor Case said 400 hot dogs had slid down participants' appreciative gullets.
Tanya Bulkeley, 4, won the beautiful pink girls' bike the city gave away in a drawing. Her legs are still a mite short to reach the pedals, and she needs a little help with the balancing, too. Her parents, Lewis and Tanya Bulkeley, says training wheels are in her future.
The green boy's bike went to Joseph Peters, who at 11 already had a bike which he had in fact ridden to the park on Saturday. He says he'll use the new one but keep the old bike for his friend Silas to ride when he comes over.
Saturday's festivities and prizes were meant to celebrate $240,000' worth of modern new play equipment the city had bought for the park, and maybe also as a consolation to the kids for the playground having remained closed all summer while the new equipment was installed and the grounds repaired from the earthwork necessary to do that.
Trenton Parks and Recreations Commissioner Terry Powell said he was pleased with the turnout. "I'm a little surprised," he said. "You never know how things are going to turn out."
But Powell was pleased at the chance to show off the playground to so many patrons at one time. "I tried to get everybody something, small kids, handicapped kids," he said.
Powell (left) pointed out the handicapped-friendly swings and the wheelchair-accessible gazebo that contribute to the playground's compliance with ADA, the Americans with Disability Act. "They go in there and they have different things they can play with," said Powell of the gazebo. "ADA-compliant means that you have to have as many things low as you do high, so there's things here and there around the park so that anyone in a wheelchair can reach them."
Judging by the shrieks and shouts of pleasure emitting from the playground, the kids were happy with their nice modern new play gear, but The Planet could not help noticing that the three pictured below preferred more basic equipment.
Whether by accident or design, construction workers left behind this irresistible relic of the earthwork. Playground, shmayground! For (from left) Chloe and Blazze Alsobrook and Lorelei VanVeldhuizen, there is nothing quite as nice to play in as good old dirt.