Celebration to mark Possibility Playground anniversary

Ice cream party will commemorate 10-year milestone for all-abilities park built by hundreds of volunteers

DESIGNED FOR children of all abilities, Possibility Playground in Port Washington’s Upper Lake Park was built 10 years ago by hundreds of volunteers and paid for with donations. Press file photo
Ozaukee Press staff

Almost 10 years to the day that Possibility Playground in Port Washington’s Upper Lake Park opened, a celebration of the play area for children of all abilities will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 30.

The free ice cream party will be held at the Kiwanis shelter immediately next to the playground.

“It’s a 10th birthday party,” said Mardy McGarry, who with Sue Mayer spearheaded the effort to create the playground more than a decade ago.

“Everyone’s invited to celebrate, have some ice cream and play,” McGarry said, noting the treats are being provided by Amazing Ice Cream Co. and the Chocolate Chisel, both of Port Washington.

Orders will be taken that day for personalized 10th anniversary pickets to be incorporated into the fence surrounding the playground. Each picket costs $50.

Tickets will also be sold to an Oct. 5 gala at the Port Exploreum when the Merry-Go-Fish decorated fish — a fundraiser for the playground — will be auctioned off. Those tickets are $25.

Volunteers are still being sought to help clean the play area beginning at 7 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, in preparation for Sunday’s party.

Possibility Playground is perhaps the most used play area in the city, and has been since it was built in 2008.

“There’s always someone there, morning, noon and night. It is truly used,” McGarry said. “I’m a little amazed myself. To drive by and see everybody using it — it’s a good thing.”

The playground was truly a community effort. Not only did the community raise the funds for the playground, hundreds of volunteers offered their sweat equity to build the play area.  

The playground was a dream come true for McGarry, who at the time was a special education teacher, and Mayer, the mother of a child with special needs, and an effort embraced by the Greater Port Washington Kiwanis Club.

Since it was built, thousands of children of all abilities have visited the playground, laughing and having fun, but that traffic has come at a cost.

“It’s been worn out,” McGarry said. 

So the Kiwanis Club’s playground committee last year started a fundraising effort to add a merry-go-round to Possibility Playground that would be accessible to all children.

While local philanthropist Shirli Flack later  funded the merry-go-round, the committee decided to put its fundraising efforts toward other updates to the playground.

The committee wants to replace the current twisty slide, which is cracked, and add a formal entryway with a Loch Ness Monster climbing structure.

They also want to replace the sandboxes — the sand spills out and is ruining the playground surface — with a courthouse clock tower replica, and replace some of the musical instruments — the paddles used to play them are constantly being stolen — with a replica of the Veterans Park bandshell.

Playground committee members were expected to tour Possibility Playground with the designer to finalize plans and get some cost estimates Friday, Sept. 28, McGarry said.

There are 25 Merry-Go-Fish in all, and after a summer spent in local businesses that sponsored them, they are expected to take shelter at the Exploreum by the end of this week in preparation for the Oct. 5 gala, where they will be auctioned off between 5 and 8 p.m.

People can bid for the fish online at https://www.32auctions.com/merrygofish, through Oct. 4 and set a maximum bid for them that will be considered during the live auction on Oct. 5.


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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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Port Washington, WI 53074
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