Preston’s Playground: Newark’s gift to all childrenOct 17, 2022 10:11AM ● By Tricia Hoadley
Text by Richard L. Gaw
The story of Preston’s Playground is a tale told in chapters that began with a dream.
For several years, Deb Buenaga of Wilmington imagined a place where her son Preston Buenaga -- who has mitochondrial disease – could play alongside able-bodied children, an all-inclusive playground with adaptive equipment for children of all abilities.
Within a short time, inspired by Preston and championed by Deb, the City of Newark, Newark Parks & Recreation, the members of Preston’s Playground Committee, Corrado Construction, and Fusion Fitness Center, a community-wide effort brought her dream to life.
“I first met Deb and her family about ten years ago when we owned Fusion Fitness on Main Street in Newark,” said Nic DeCaire, who now owns Fusion Racing. “We were participating in a fundraiser to raise money for the purchase of adaptive bicycles through her organization, Preston’s March for Energy. From those efforts, we then sought to bring the same kind of inclusion into the running world.
“One day over coffee, Deb mentioned that she and Preston had visited an all-inclusive playground, and that children like Preston should have the same kind of facility built in Newark. It was then and there that Deb and I decided to build such a playground.”
Using his connections to the local community, DeCaire began to reach out to the vast network of businesses and government, and on November 19, 2018, before an enthusiastic audience of supporters and children, Preston’s Playground opened at the base of the Newark Reservoir, becoming Newark’s first all-inclusive playground.
Funded by the City of Newark and private contributions, Preston’s Playground offers 6,000 square feet of everything a child could want in a play space. There are slides, monkey bars, a merry-go-round, several types of swings and small zip lines – all of it on a rubberized surface and equipped with ramps to allow children of all abilities to play together.
On any day of the year, it is likely Newark residents walking by will note with civic pride the accomplishment of their town to create such an all-inclusive gift to the children of this generation and those to come.
Preston’s Playground is located at 250 Old Papermill Road in Newark, at the base of the Newark Reservoir. For additional information, visit “Preston’s Playground” on Facebook. To learn more about Fusion Racing, visit www.fusionracetiming.com.