Jonathan’s Dream playground to be rebuilt

Kick-off event planned for July 27

The original Jonathan’s Dream, a wooden, wheelchair-accessible, intergenerational playground, was built by more than 1,000 volunteers in 1996 in memory of Jonathan Barzach, who died before his first birthday. It was one of the first inclusive playgrounds in the country and for almost twenty years, many local families’ favorite playground. Due to heavy use, however, Jonathan’s Dream deteriorated and, in 2013, it had to be torn down.

Jonathan's DreamNow, plans to rebuild Jonathan’s Playground are in place. The kickoff event for Jonathan’s Dream Re-Imagined will be held Sunday, July 27, 12 noon to 3 p.m. at the Mandell Jewish Community Center, 335 Bloomfield Avenue in West Hartford. Activities will include: bounce houses, ice cream, face-painting, and the unveiling of the design for the new Jonathan’s Dream. The event is free and open to the public.

“Jonathan’s Dream meant so much to so many families and to us. It would be devastating if it were torn down and forgotten,” said Amy Jaffe Barzach, Jonathan’s mother and founder of the nonprofit, Boundless Playgrounds, that has built similar inclusive playgrounds throughout the country. To bring Jonathan’s Dream back to life, the Barzach family is working with an Alumni Taskforce from Leadership Greater Hartford, the organization leading the project, Shane’s Inspiration, the organization donating all of its services to design the new playground, and Ronit Shoham, a resident of West Hartford who is serving as project coordinator, in partnership with the Mandell Jewish Community Center.

According to the taskforce, Jonathan’s Dream Re-Imagined will incorporate the best elements of the original Jonathan’s Dream with new high activity, state-of-the-art playground equipment, such as an accessible zip-line, a tree house, fully accessible pathways, and a discovery village for children.

The project to rebuild Jonathan’s Dream is expected to cost $950,000 and, once funds are raised, will take three to six months to complete.

For more information contact Ronit Shoham at ronitshoham@comcast.net or 860-558-5313.

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