Montclair, NJ — On September 14, 2021, the YMCA of Montclair hosted a ribbon cutting event and reception to thank supporters and present the new Rainbow Playground at the Geyer Family Y to the community. Young music students from Montclair Early Music led by Julienne Pape, President and Founder delighted those present with a performance prior to the official ribbon cutting.
Councilwoman Lori Price Abrams presented a Township of Montclair Proclamation extending congratulations on the completion of the playground and its benefit to the community.
YMCA of Montclair Chief Volunteer Officer Izumi Hara joined supporters Risa Cretella, Executive Vice President of Rao’s Homemade and David and Bridget Placek in cutting the big red ribbon at the playground’s entrance.
The playground was originally scheduled to break ground in the summer of 2020 but was delayed by COVID-19.
“We are pleased to complete this long-awaited playground at the Geyer Family Y,” says Buddy Evans, President and CEO of the YMCA of Montclair. “The pandemic underscored for us the importance of having ample space for children to play and learn in the fresh air. I’m so glad to have this playground ready for the start of the school year.”
The playground, designed in partnership with Montclair State University, will provide a safe, fun, outdoor environment for children of diverse abilities.
This project was only possible thanks to many donations from the community, including a challenge grant from two lead supporters, Rao’s Homemade and The Placek Family. “As a member of the Montclair community for 3 years, Rao’s Homemade is committed to supporting initiatives that make this wonderful town an even better place for its residents to live. Rao’s is delighted to have helped bring to life the YMCA of Montclair’s vision for this community playground,” said Risa Cretella, Executive Vice President, Rao’s Homemade.
“Our family is very excited about the opening of the playground at the Geyer Family Y,” said Dave and Bridget Placek. “We know that so many families in the community will benefit from having this colorful new playground in their backyards, and look forward to seeing it be used for many years to come.”
Other lead supporters include: The Geyer Family, Izumi Hara and David Koschik, Rose Cali, Susann and Jim Connors, Investors Foundation and The Provident Bank Foundation. “I am incredibly grateful to all of the supporters who made this playground possible,” said Buddy Evans.
Parents at the Learning Enrichment Community, the remote school program held at the Geyer Family Y for the 2020-21 School year, also came together to support the playground in honor of the Y staff working with their children. A bench in the playground is dedicated to the staff for their efforts during the pandemic.
Due to supply chain issues in procuring turf floor, the playground will open for play in October.