Improved playground on the way in Cranberry

| Saturday, April 27, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

For more than two decades, thousands of Cranberry children played Capture the Flag, vaulted off swings and hung out at the Playtime Palace at the township's Community Park.

Volunteers last week dismantled the 22-year-old playground to make way for Kids Castle, what officials are billing as a bigger and better playground.

“I'm sad to see (Playtime Palace) go,” said Cranberry resident Beth Meahl, 47, who has a daughter, Victoria, 9.

“But it's good, because (the township) is trying to making things better for the kids.”

Cranberry officials have said that the Playtime Palace was too old to maintain and did not comply with current safety standards.

Volunteers from the Cranberry offices of Westinghouse Electric Co. and Alcoa Inc. helped dismantle the playground beginning April 22. Some of the wood from the old playground, which opened in 1990, will be pressure-washed and stained for use in the new one.

The new playground will be built next to the old one, allowing officials to triple its size and offer more parking and safer access for pedestrians.

According to design plans, the playground will have swings, climbing spaces and elements to reflect Cranberry's farming past; an archway that will incorporate the old playground's clock tower design and futuristic play structures. It's expected to open sometime in September.

Township officials said they expect the playground to cost nearly $500,000.

Supervisor Bruce Mazzoni, a member of the playground committee, said the project has more than $325,000 in committed funding.

The Cranberry Uniting Playground organization pledged $175,000 during the next five years, while the Cranberry Township Community Chest committed $50,000. Township supervisors in December paid $82,500 in design costs, but the playground organization must reimburse the township.

During the April 20 groundbreaking, John Iaquinta, who owns three Moe's Southwest Grill restaurants in Western Pennsylvania, donated $6,000, representing $1 for every burrito sold in February in his Cranberry restaurant.

The April 20 groundbreaking kicked off another round of fundraising and sponsorship drives, Mazzoni said.

The committee will decide in late May whether it has enough funding to move forward with construction.

“I feel really confident,” Mazzoni said.

“What a tremendous asset to our community this will be.”

“I hope the next generation of kids cherish the memories like I did, “ said Josh Andree, 25, the son of township manager Jerry Andree.

Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or

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