(BINGHAMTON, N.Y.) — Mayor Richard C. David on Tuesday visited Recreation Park to kick off the rebuilding of OurSpace, the fully accessible playground that was destroyed in a June 1 fire.
“We made a commitment from the start to rebuild OurSpace so children and families could get back to enjoying the playground as soon as possible, and that rebuilding process begins today,” said Mayor David. “A tragedy like this fire could have created division and strife, but instead, Binghamton residents rallied together to rebuild, and that rebuilding will be what defines us. This is a proud moment for our community.”
Approximately 180 volunteers with building experience have signed up for a combined 2,300 hours of work to help rebuild OurSpace. The build, which is weather dependent, is expected to take seven days.
In 2016, more than 900 community members contributed about 5,000 hours of volunteer work to help build OurSpace. Due to COVID-19 social distancing protocols, a community build with hundreds of volunteers was not feasible for the rebuild. Project organizers put out a call for skilled laborers or contractors willing to volunteer.
Play By Design, of Ithaca, is serving as project manager on the rebuild. The firm is the playground’s original architect.
As of Tuesday morning, more than $377,000 has been raised to support the rebuild, including donations to the official OurSpace fund managed by the Community Foundation for South Central New York.
Several companies have donated in-kind services to the rebuild, including LCP Group, Inc., of Vestal, which demolished and removed the fire-damaged playground at no cost. CNY Tree Service removed a fire-damaged Oak tree near the playground, and Stanley Black & Decker donated $53,600 in tools for the rebuild.
The estimated cost of the rebuild project is approximately $860,000. The playground was insured, and the City is awaiting a final determination on reimbursement from the insurance company.
The original playground cost more than $1 million to build, including in-kind labor and materials.
The June 1 fire that destroyed the playground was determined to have been intentionally set, following an investigation by the Binghamton Fire Marshal’s Office. The fire is being investigated as an arson by the Binghamton Police Detective Bureau. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Binghamton Police at (607) 772-7080. Tipsters may remain anonymous.
— 30 —