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Chester County Press

Oxford Area Recreation Authority receives grant to create a natural playground

08/02/2021 08:37PM ● By Steven Hoffman

The Oxford Area Recreation Authority has received a grant from the E. Kneale Dockstader Foundation in the amount of $6,500 to help create a natural playground and stabilize the nearby trail.

The natural playground will be located on the Authority’s property along Oaks Road in East Nottingham Township. Separated from the active recreation facilities at the Oxford Area Regional Park by the Route 1 bypass, the Oaks Road site is targeted primarily for passive recreation features. 

Currently, visitors may enjoy the existing picnic area or walk through the wooded grove. The addition of the natural playground will offer youngsters an opportunity to play outdoors in an open environment where imagination is encouraged.

The property has a long history as part of a working farm, which leads to the playground theme “Down on the Farm.”

Rather than commercial play equipment, features will be constructed primarily from natural materials and repurposed items that might be found in a barnyard whenever possible. There will be ample opportunities to climb and slide as the natural contours of the hillside will be used.

An Authority committee is currently working on playground design, and exploring a variety of ideas including a living maze, hopscotch slates, bamboo wind chimes, a hillside tunnel and much more. 

Generous funding from the Dockstader Foundation grant will help cover materials and construction equipment. Much of the work will be done by volunteers with assistance from member municipalities. 

The Oxford Area Recreation Authority is composed of representatives from East Nottingham, West Nottingham, Elk and Lower Oxford Township and Oxford Borough.  Member municipalities contribute $1 per capita to the authority annually to cover park maintenance costs. Expansion and other expenses depend on grants, donations, park rental fees, and revenue from Authority organized events. 

The E. Kneale Dockstader Foundation was formed by South Eastern Chester County Refuse Authority (SECCRA) in honor of former board chairman Kneale Dockstader. The foundation’s goal is to actively promote environmental activities in the SECCRA service area with grants, scholarship and beneficial programs.