HAWLEY - Funding has been approved for the handicapped-accessible restrooms for Bingham Park, to accompany the new playground now expected to break ground in August at the earliest.
   Janet DeLuca, chairperson of Hawley Borough Park & Recreation Commission, related at their June 24th meeting that the funds will be available through the grant from the PA Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED).
  Joe Regenski, who is coordinating the playground project, later said in an interview that the funds should pay for most of the cost of building the restrooms.
     The Borough will need to arrange for the permits and connection to the water and sewer lines.
    Joe Regenski, who is coordinating the playground project, at last received the allocation from the grant so that he could send in an order for the custom-built playground equipment.
    He said that he expects the playground project would underway by mid-August and the structure substantially visible by Labor Day. The mat surface, landscaping and stone walkway also need to be done.  
     Although the original hope was to have the playground ready much earlier in the season, kids are still expected to be able to benefit from it this year, in late summer and fall. If construction is going on while kids are in school, then there will also be less people in the park, an advantage for the work crew.
   Park & Recreation had recommended that the restrooms be included should there be left-over grant funds. Kiley & Associates, the borough's engineering firm, drew the plans for the rest room facility. The facility is to be located along side the tree-lined hump ( a former canal basin wall), between the bandstand and the 9-1-1 memorial.
   Regenski said in the interview depending on the timing and funds, if the restrooms are not being constructed this fall, that phase could wait till spring, as they have a year to use the state grant.
   Comment was made at the meeting that the restrooms will be much better than the present use of rented portable commodes, in place all summer. Mayor Kevin Hawk said that more people with disabilities are using the park as well, which is a good reason to have the new facility.
     Grimm Construction will be constructing the restrooms. Wayne County Builders Association members have volunteered to help with the playground.
    The entire project with both playground and restrooms is expected to cost around $300,000. Regenski said that approximately $225,000 comes from the DCED grant; $15,000 from the County of Wayne and $10,000 from Ronald McDonald House. Other funds have been raised from private donations and fund-raisers. The estimate to build the restrooms came to about $50,000; Regenski said that $20,000 is still needed.
    Blue stone pavers are being sold to set up a walkway around the playground and leading to the rest rooms. These may be engraved in memory or in honor of someone, or with some other message.
    Built in memory of Regenski's 2-year old son Caleb who died of a brain tumor, he set up the CJR Memorial Foundation to raise money and awareness on behalf of children who are critically ill. The playground is a project of that foundation.
     The CJR Memorial Playground will be completely handicapped-accessible and designed for children ages 5-12. It will complement the existing toddler playground and be adjacent to it on the north side.
  More information on the project is available at www.cjrmemorialfund.org.