By Marleisa Arocho-Irizarry, DPW USAG ItalyJuly 2, 2018
A community dream has turned into reality with the construction of Caserma Del Din's new playground completed earlier this month.
It all started when military spouse Rose Roorda, mother of three, decided to invest a few hours of her time to develop a survey identifying Vicenza Military Community needs. Survey results of 70 Army spouses identified a need on Caserma Del Din where families could gather and children could play.
The results were presented to the leadership of United States Army Garrison Italy in 2016. The garrison command team granted their approval and sent notice to the Directorate of Public Works to proceed with construction. The playground opened to the community just two weeks ago on June 15.
Public Works leveraged the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and their certified playground design expert from the United States to design and construct an area that would meet the requirements for the VMC population within the age range of six months to 12 years. The new playground is centrally located adjacent to the AAFES shoppette and in close proximity to the parking structures on Del Din.
It is comprised of a fenced, covered area with appropriate equipment, fall protection and use zones.
Moreover, there is a shaded outdoor area with picnic tables next to the playground where parents can sit down to enjoy lunch or a coffee while their children have a fun, safe and enjoyable time playing outside.
Upon completion of the playground, Roorda said, "It was great seeing how responsive the garrison was to this need. I first noticed it as an issue as I have been in the MOMs Club since 2015, and many of the moms there talked about no activities for the kids.
"Also, lots of people would frequent the nearby 'Kids Village,' which is a little privately run indoor play park where kids can play for a €5 entry fee. Since this need had been talked about but nothing had been put in place, I decided to take action and send proof of our needs to the appropriate, higher-level person."
Similarly, DPW Director Norman Stiegler said, "I am extremely pleased we are able to respond to a need of the VMC community identified by the family readiness groups for both the 173rd Airborne Brigade and USAG Italy Headquarters and Headquarters Company."
More than just a mere infrastructure investment, the playground is an investment in Soldiers and their families. The playground will enhance Soldiers' livability and work environment by allowing them to spend quality time with their families whether it is at lunch, during a coffee break, after work, or on weekends.