MSD STRONG, NEWS — March 27, 2020 at 6:21 pm

Princess Meadow’s Playground officially opens to public

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Children of all ages play and enjoy the new Princess Meadow playground, equipped with monkey bars, swirly slides and other amentities, while their families watch over them. Parents and gaurdians were also able to appreiciate the play area as they mingled while their kids played. Photo by Maria Vera

Princess Meadow’s Playground, a project 18 months in the making, formally opened on Saturday, Jan. 4 at 10 a.m. This project was intended to honor Meadow Pollack, who died in the Feb. 14, 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. 

The playground, which is located Betti Stradling Park, replaced the volunteer park that previously stood there. It was constructed with the help of Meadow’s Movement and the City of Coral Springs, with additional contributions from Butters Construction and Development, Top Line Recreation and Ellemar Enterprises. 

After months of fundraising and construction with a goal of fully funding the $1 million equipment, the park now stands open to the public with the motto “Be kind to all kinds.”

Crowds began to gather nearly half an hour before the beginning of the ceremony. Members of both the Parkland and Coral Springs communities congregated in front of the gates leading to the new brightly colored playground. 

The ceremony began with a line-up of speeches from various people related to the project, including five of Meadow’s family members and a few city officials. Some spoke somberly of the life that Meadow could have led if she continued to live on. Others marveled at the impact the playground will have in the future.

“The playground will exist as a place of community, connection and childhood joy,” Meadow’s grandmother Evelyn Pollack said in her speech. “I feel this is what Meadow would want.” 

In constructing the playground, the family wanted a way to carry on Meadow’s love for children and her caring nature to a place that could benefit all members of the community.

“[The vibrant colors of the playground] reflect Meadow’s spirit and her essence in a way that a tombstone never could,” Meadow’s brother Huck Pollack said. 

Once the speeches concluded, Meadow’s stepmother conducted a butterfly release.

After the release, the ribbon to the playground was cut, and all of the children in the crowd were able to run in and play. The playground filled up quickly with adults conversing and children enjoying the new equipment.

Overall, the community seemed to think positively about this new playground. Allison Carew, an Alumna and parent of current MSD students Madison and Mackenzie Mirskey, explained that, while her children spent much of their childhood in the previous playground, she is happy with this new addition.

“I think it’s a beautiful way to honor someone that was so involved with children and joy,” Carew said. 

While it seems the parents and children of the community are pleased with the new addition, they are not the only ones who appreciate what it stands for.

“I think it’s so extravagant, especially celebrating her in a different way,” alumna Tatyanna Kittendorf said. “She should be honored in this way.”

With this new playground now open to the public, the community is free to enjoy the facilities in Meadow Pollack’s honor.

This story was originally published in the March 2020 Eagle Eye print edition.

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Leah Ronkin is a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. She is a member of the Drama Club. She enjoys writing, drawing, and playing Ukulele.

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