Over a five-day period in early October of 2000, thousands of people from all walks of life pulled together with a common purpose: to build a huge playground in Mount Vernon which was designed for--and by--the areas children.
This was not a library project, although the Board of Trustees happily agreed to donate the land for the playground, and the Friends of APL acted as fiscal agent for the project, and formed a committee for the ongoing maintenance of the playground.
build was the culmination of a process that began in the Fall of 1999
when Mt. Vernon residents who had, independent of each other, contacted
a playground design company in Syracuse, New York, know as Leathers
and Associates, were put into contact with one another by Leathers.
This group soon expanded into what became the "Core Committee"
of people who decided to work with Leathers and Associates to make
the playground a reality.
Children figured prominently in the playground every step of the way. In late March of 2000, Design Day was held, during which a representative from Leathers and Associates came to Mt. Vernon, gathered ideas from area children about what they wanted to have on their playground, and incorporated those ideas into an actual blueprint for the playground which was revealed at a public meeting that evening.
Then, in April of that year, a contest was held to name the playground, and the name Imagination Station was selected from among the nominations. Children said they liked the name Imagination Station in part because the playground was next to the library, and that reading helps children to use their imaginations.
Kids also helped in raising funds, selling root beer floats at the local IGA supermarket, setting up penny cans in local businesses, and many other ways.
Finally, kids helped during the construction of the playground, sanding, painting, raking wood chips, staining lumber, serving food and beverages, and doing countless other "kid-sized" jobs.
But really, the whole community can take pride in the playground. All the tools used in the construction were donated by individuals, businesses, or contractors; all of the labor was donated by individuals, organizations, or businesses; child care for volunteer laborers was donated by still more volunteers; food to feed workers meals was donated by area stores, restaurants, pizza parlors, and social organizations; and all money spent on materials and construction was raised locally through private initiative.
As the pictures on this page indicate, building Imagination Station was an enormous undertaking, and no one who was associated with the build will ever forget the experience. Acquaintances were made, relationships were developed, and lasting friendships were formed. Our community came together to create something of lasting value for the kids.
Yes, we built it. Butin a very real senseit helped to build us, too.
Guidelines for Use
The following rules govern use of Imagination Station by the public.