Shaler resident plans to install playground at Shalercrest Apartments
Monday, March 9, 2020 | 11:00 PM
The Shalercrest Apartment Complex demolished its wooden playground several years ago because it was in disrepair. Shaler resident Andrew Weckman aims to install a new playground for residents of the 251-unit Shalercrest and the community.
A former Shalercrest resident, Weckman, 32, has fond memories of visiting the complex’s park.
“All of the local kids would be up there playing around on it and having fun. And then it got dry rotted and dilapidated, so they cut it out to not have any injuries or liabilities and they never had the money replace it. So now I’ve been seeing it as just vacant land for all these years.”
Ohio-based Snider Recreation Inc. prepared renderings for the proposed Weckman Park that include basketball hoops, four benches, multiple slides and climbing structures, as well as a spinning, merry-go-round-type device with seats. Children would play atop engineered wood fiber mulch designed to support mobility devices like crutches, wheelchairs and canes.
The park will be inclusive for children with disabilities, Weckman said, and features specific areas geared toward preschoolers up to middle schoolers.
Two signs will describe Shalercrest’s history as outlined in George B. Kruth’s book “Shalercrest: A Defense Housing Project: A Historical Perspective, 1940-1955.”
Weckman thinks the park would provide a safe location for children to “stay out of trouble,” an amenity to attract potential renters to Shalercrest, and a resource to create connections among Shalercrest residents and the outside community.
The Shalercrest Housing Association shareholders unanimously voted Oct. 21, 2019, in favor of Weckman’s proposal.
Weckman is CEO of the Weckman Initiative: American Division, a nonprofit aimed at educational advancement, which is spearheading the project. Shalercrest will maintain the playground upon its completion.
“It is our goal that this new amenity will help children who reside at Shalercrest Apartments, as well as welcome new children to our community, with physical education, exercise, entertainment and fun for all ages.
We are very excited and humbled to have Weckman Initiative: American Division engage and collaborate with us to build something spectacular while advancing education through fun interactions and creative play,” Beth Delach, association board president, and Shawn Ryan, vice president, wrote in a statement.
The Weckman Initiative: American Division is seeking tax-deductible donations for the park, which Snider Recreation will complete in one phase to save labor costs.
In addition to soliciting corporate sponsorships, the Weckman Initiative: American Division is fundraising by selling $100 engraved bricks for display on a park wall.
For more details regarding the park or to donate, visit weckmaninitiative.us/weckman-park