But soon Bethlehem children will have a lot more to make of the park on the corner of Franklin and Spring streets. About 175 volunteers pitched in Tuesday to install state-of-the-art playground equipment featuring two slides, a mini-climbing wall and plenty of other attractions. The equipment is expected to be ready for action Friday afternoon.
“I couldn’t wait until today,” Jack said. “I was thrilled.”
He wasn’t the only one.
Erica and Robert Kushner live right next to the park, but if their 2-year-old daughter McKayla wanted to slide, they had to take her elsewhere. Now, she’ll have her own play palace just outside the door.
“She’ll have a blast,” her mother said.
Then there’s Jack’s friend Wyatt Davidyock, also 11. He goes to Higbee Park pretty much every day, he said, and likes to play basketball. But what stood out to him about Tuesday was seeing “everyone come together.”
By everyone, he means community members, businesspeople and members of the Pennsylvania League of Cities and Municipalities, which meets in Bethlehem this week. Under the guidance of KaBoom!, a nonprofit organization that builds playgrounds across the country, the new equipment was installed and the surrounding area was mulched by 2 p.m.
It’s all part of setting an example, said Kip Allen, the Edinboro, Erie County, council member who will take over Friday as president of the Pennsylvania League of Cities and Municipalities. There’s a plan to build a playground in Erie the day before next year’s meeting.
“If you want other people to do it,” Allen said with sweat on his cheeks, “you need to do it yourself.”
While Allen and the other adults worked, about 50 kids danced, hula-hooped and played football to a DJ’s tunes. Those kids will eventually have a maze and labyrinth to enjoy at Higbee, according to the park’s master plan