VENTNOR – It’s like walking on a big blue cloud. The newly refurbished C-Sure Children’s Park reopened this weekend after a major makeover that installed a cushioned surface to ensure the safety of children who play there.

“I’m overwhelmed and thankful,” said Marsha Galespie, who was the driving force behind the grass-roots effort to get the playground built for children of all abilities around 12 years ago.

The rubber surface of the ADA-compliant playground had deteriorated and become unsafe because it did not have a proper drainage system. The city closed the playground weeks ago, and city workers and contractors rushed to get the beachfront park redone by the Memorial Day weekend.

On Saturday morning, the park was packed with children enjoying the swings, monkey bars, bridges and more.

Galespie said she was thankful the current city administration saw the need to repair the park and came up with the funds. She asked those who use it to protect the surface and avoid bringing bicycles and strollers into the park.

The playground was built in 2007 with donations from the community, and a slew of volunteers and several trade unions, Galespie said.

“It was an amazing project. A thousand people showed up for the grand opening. It’s the only ADA-compliant playground on Absecon Island,” she said.

According to Public Works Supervisor Ed Stinson, the engineered surface took a beating over the years and became unsafe. A new drainage system was installed beneath the park to prevent the poured rubber surface from degrading in the future.

The CSure playground is the only one in Ventnor that has an engineered surface that makes it easy for wheelchairs to get in and out of the park.

The city is also reburbishing other Ventnor playgrounds, including the ones at Titus Field on Surrey Avenue, the Sandcastle Playground behind the Ventnor Library and the Fireman’s Playground on Burghley and Fulton avenues. The city is hoping to get them reopened by June 15, Stinson said.

The city funded the playground upgrades with $405,357 approved in a November 2017 bond ordinance.

Nanette LoBiondo Galloway

Award winning journalist covering news, events and people of Atlantic County for more than 20 years.