Johnson Reeves Playground Set to Reopen on August 20th

BRIDGETON - Johnson Reeves Playground at East Avenue and York Street is ready to reopen once again and become a neighborhood park for families and kids to enjoy.
On Thursday, August 20th between 4:00 and 6:00 p.m., City officials, along with area nonprofit Revive South Jersey, will be inviting residents throughout the neighborhood for the reopening of Johnson Reeves Playground.
For Bridgeton Mayor Albert Kelly, the return of Johnson Reeves Playground takes him back to his days as a child playing baseball there on summer days.
“I have a special feeling for that playground and a lot of fond memories; it’s time for a new generation of youngsters to enjoy the playground and build their own memories of the place,” said Kelly.
Over the years, tight budgets and less staff meant few resources were available for improvements. But over the last two years the City in partnership with Revive South Jersey joined forces to restore the playground.
Initially focused on the clubhouse and installing playground equipment, the project expanded to include an adjustable basketball hoop, lighting, a youth soccer field, and handicap parking. Future phases include new fencing.
The project got assists from Lowes of Millville donating materials and labor for the roof; R & S Construction of Bridgeton donating a portion of labor and materials for building renovations; and a $15,000 grant from KaBoom and Dr. Pepper/Snapple for the playground apparatus.
Support came from business and private interests as well including Century Savings Bank, Susquehanna Bank, Bethany Grace Church, Cumberland Dairy, Whibco, Bridgeton Rotary, Greater Bridgeton Chamber of Commerce, Crestwood Midstream Partners, and Helmer, Conley, & Kasselman.
On-site labor came from Ranch Hope and the Pascale Sykes funded collaborative “Unidos para la Familia”. Bridgeton’s own Public Works Department handled much of the installation for the basketball hoop and soccer field.
“We had a strong group with us, and I am grateful to each and everyone who provided materials and labor to make this project possible; without them this doesn’t happen,” said Kelly.
The short term goal according to Revive South Jersey Director Jonathan Cummings is to turn over a solid park and playground space to the families and in the surrounding neighborhood. Longer term, they hope to provide structured programs and activities for neighborhood children.
Both goals fit well with Bridgeton Recreation Director Melissa Hemple’s concept of an “under12” focus for the park where younger children are the main audience.
“Neighborhood revitalization starts with a sense of community pride. We wanted Johnson Reeves to be viable and ultimately a source of pride for residents,” said Kelly.

SNJ Today is a Southern New Jersey news and information source based in Millville, New Jersey that is dedicated to providing current stories related specifically to South Jersey.