North Haven is celebrating the completion of a new playground close to town. Owned and maintained by the town, the facility cost the town only a fraction of the total amount it would take to construct a playground of this size on an island.

In 2004 North Haven was told by its insurance company that the 40-year-old swing set located next to the town office was too much of a liability and would have to go. The swings swung out over a paved parking lot and were in general disrepair. Karen Cooper and the town recreation council started researching ideas for a new Cedarworks playset and began the fundraising process. Meanwhile, North Haven Arts & Enrichment independently had begun raising funds for a new outdoor play area for the students in its childcare program. The two organizations joined forces and created a playset committee comprised of six island residents, and the project took off.

MBNA initiated the giving with a “last dollars” grant towards the project, complemented by a grant from the Island Institute’s Island Community Fund and a grant from the Ronald McDonald House Charities. North Haven also approved a budget at its 2005 town meeting that included $2,000 towards the project.

Viking Lumber supplied landscaping fabric and heavy beams that will border the area. Tom Fence donated the gate of the split rail fence and Brooks Mill Traps Inc. donated 200 feet of trap wire to complete the fence and keep young children inside the playground area.

Cedarworks donated 50 percent off the playset of the committee’s choice, which then grew from a simple swing set to a unique playground structure. The Cedarworks design department helped design the structure.
When the playset committee learned that the old site of the swingset was too close to the road for a new structure to take its place, the North Haven Baptist Church made a corner of its ballfield available for the lifetime of the playground.

Getting anything out to the island adds some hitches and some dollars to any big project. Ed Tosswill at Maine Stone donated the trucking for transporting the wood chips that will cushion any fall. J.O. Brown and Sons lent their pick-up, which was loaded with the fence and pulled a trailer with the entire playset loaded on it. Rex Crockett offered to go pick up the set. Other invaluable donations include site preparation by Cooper Construction (assisted by 4 year-old Peyton Cooper) and fence installation by Chris Stone.

On June 4, after almost three weeks of rain, the day set for the installation of the playground arrived sunny and bright. Forty-five community members of all ages came together to put the playset together. George Martin, who has installed Cedarworks playsets for many years, and his wife, Sarah, a longtime summer resident on North Haven, came out to help with the installation, which took only five hours.

As a result of everyone’s generosity a playground worth almost $16,000 is now available for use to the town of North Haven at a cost to the town of only $2,000. This summer the playset committee will hold a naming contest and will paint the name on the bow of the boat that makes up part of the structure.