Park Progress – Excited and a little scared

I’m so excited and admittedly a little scared for what this day has in store for us. Tonight we will sit down with 3 companies who have been working on a preliminary design for the park. These teams have met with us several times, they’ve poured their time and energy into a presentation.  Now it’s finally time to hear them and make a choice.

Why am I scared? Well, it’s a huge step for making the memorial park a reality. We’ve barely gotten started, and we’ve had so many times when it felt like we were almost there, only to have it pulled away. We’re finally here. We’re getting started with the the nitty gritty, choosing vendors, and making sure the city is happy with the things we’re planning. This is really happening. I’m scared of the park being built and then feeling a loss of purpose. Everyone has been so focused on the park aspect of SaMP that I feel like our efforts to get the programs which reflect the rest of our mission are going to be pushed aside. My brain knows this won’t happen because the organization we created for the girls is more than just a park – it’s a lifelong purpose to help kids and their families to PLAY LEARN & CREATE.

Why am I excited? Seriously how could I not be excited? Jack and I, and our board and volunteers, have had this vision for the park, how it would make people feel, how it would help our community, how it would help us feel a little less broken, since a very short time after we lost Sophie and Madigan. We’ve worked so hard, we’ve had tears of frustrations, we’ve had tears of elation, and we’ve gotten to a point of reserved excitement waiting for progress. Now it’s happening, this is a definitive step towards progress. 

So tonight as we sit in a room at the library with these teams of people, who I have become emotionally invested in, I have a lot of hope there is a very clear step forward. I’m ready to take this step. Our board, that has patiently met month after month for the last 4 years, is ready for this step. The park will be a very concrete way for people to see that their donations, their emotional investment, their hard work, and dedication to the plan will pay off. There were certainly times when it felt like it wouldn’t happen. I keep reminding myself not to to jump the gun and realize there will still be delays and set backs – but also feeling really positive about a concrete step forward. 

Sophie & Madigan Lillard Memorial Park

We are closer than ever to starting to build the park. As a part of the Frederick City Park system, we will work closely with the city on the planning and the development of the land they have generously approved for this use. The park is located on approximately 10 acres of land at the west end of Frederick City, where the VFW gold course currently stands. It’s location is ideal to serve a currently under served section of our community, as well as being easily accessed from major highways. This makes the park highly accessible to visitors from the city, all over our county, and states of Maryland, DC, Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. The current plans for the park include fully accessible whimsically themed play areas, walking trails, shared use paths, pavilions, memorial gardens, and an outdoor amphitheater. In November our board will be presented with three preliminary designs, and budgets from three park developers. From there the board members will be asked to  narrow down to one! This is such a big exciting step. We can’t wait get past this step and on to the hard work of making this dream a reality.

blog.jpgPark Rough Draft by ~ Chrissi Lillard

Park Draft Details

Entrance Pavilion

* carousel themed * memorial pavers * seating/picnic area * “stained glass” sections for roof * surrounded by butterfly “garden” * carousel horses in gardens

Wonderland Garden
* fully accessible * sensory tunnel * flower and butterfly shades * mushroom play structure * climbing web * nest swing * “tea party” sound garden * queen of hearts “croquet” course * flower stalk swing set *bright memorial bench seating

Fantasyland
* castle/tower play structure * jousting horse ride-ons * dragon slide * floating lantern shades * drawbridge course * “princess cottage” playhouse * pumpkin carriage * diamond “mine” mining train * carousel spin ride

Neverland
*skull rock climbing/play structure *tic toc croc climbing sculpture * pirate ship play structure * ship sail shades *Mr Smee row boat * teepee “playhouse” * pirate “zip line” *mermaid lagoon tot spot

Amphitheatre
* tiered seating for 300 * rental opportunity * community gathering * memorial pavers/tile