CITY OF WILDWOOD OPENED A NEW OUTDOOR LEARNING PARK DONATED BY ITS CITIZENS

Mayor Pete Byron and Commissioners Fitzsimons and Mikulski gathered today to thank private donors – many graduates of Glenwood Avenue Elementary School – to celebrate the opening of the SOLCOW (Socratic Outdoor Learning Center Of Wildwood). The park, located on New York Avenue and West Poplar Avenue, serves as an outdoor classroom for Glenwood Avenue Elementary School students ages 6 to 12 years old. However, SOLCOW park will also welcome residents and visitors daily. This joint venture, the brainchild of Jack and Karen Morey of Morey’s Piers and Resorts, is an initiative between the City of Wildwood and various private sector contributors.

The event was attended by Glenwood Avenue Elementary School Pre-K and 4th grade classes, teachers and administrators who first initiated the request for the park.

The Wildwood High School Warrior Wagon and WHS Culinary Program catered the event with a menu of Buffalo Chicken Meatball Sandwiches with celery and blue cheese, White Bean Tomato Soup, Chicken Fingers and French Fries.

DJ Chris Hines a.k.a. DJ Cree, a Wildwood High School graduate, volunteered his services to create a fun event for all.

The American Legion Post 184 led the small ceremony with The Pledge of Allegiance.

Mayor Pete Bryon thanked the donors and expressed additional gratitude to them for a reason to celebrate despite the pandemic. He continued, “During this time, it is nice to have something that brings joy and normalcy to our lives and our children.”

Commissioner Krista Fitzsimons, who oversees Parks & Recreation, said, “We can’t thank you enough for creating this park which means so much to Wildwood residents, especially those who live in this neighborhood, including me!”

Jack Morey thanked the donors, many who donated this park in their fathers’ names:

  • Anthony Joseph Gallo – Gallo Concrete
  • Augustus Edward Johnson, Class of 1949 – Johnson Electric
  • Ernest Valentino Troiano, Sr., Class of 1946 – Troiano Concrete
  • Harry Alfred Mitchell, Jr., Class of 1969 – Mitchell Iron Works
  • Harry Keithan James, Jr., – JRA Design (designed the park)
  • Greater Wildwood Elks Lodge 1896
  • The Lunch with Lynch Foundation
  • Leonard Richard Catanoso, Sr., Class of 1940 – Garden Greenhouse
  • Lee Travis Watson – GeoScape Solar
  • OceanFirst Bank
  • W. Robert Hentges, Class of 1955 – ABS Sign Company
  • Robert Herbert Wurz – Wurz Sign Systems
  • Wilbert Clarence Morey, Class of 1947 – Morey Family Entertainment & Resorts

A 30-year Time Capsule included donations from the city, the schools and residents. Some items included:

  • The City of Wildwood centennial book – A Century of Memories 1912-2012
  • Pieces of the Historic Wildwood Boardwalk – A wooden Christmas ornament and magnet
  • Cape May County Herald January 8, 2020 news article
  • Photo of Mayor Pete Byron and Commissioners Fitzsimons and Mikulski
  • A City of Wildwood letter summarizing 2020
  • DOO WW Beach Ball and Tram Car magnets
  • President Donald J. Trump coin
  • Wildwoods 2020 Calendar of Events
  • Wildwood High School clothing, including Covid-19 masks
  • Photos of this event

More about SOLCOW Park:

The individual ingredients of the park embrace math, science and philosophy in a very contemporary manner, as well as embracing recycling and sustainability. It also includes components of efficiency and adaptive reuse by using objects in multiple ways. Some of the components of the park are:

Sundial

  • The sundial utilizes the existing flagpole and incorporates a surface at the base that allows the pole to cast a shadow so that students can understand the relationship of the sun to the time of day, as well as changing positions during different seasons. This is also useful to identify winter and summer solstice.
  • The base of the pole is also the location of the sun and hence the center of our solar system.
  • With the sun at the base of the flagpole, the planets of our solar system are positioned on a leisure lawn according to their relative distance to the sun.  And since this is Wildwood, the planets double as various sized beach balls that also act as seats.

Stage

  • The stage is made via recycling the existing exposed aggregate sidewalks that are laid in an organic fashion to project a more casual environment. Additionally, there is a “theater in the round” with seating on all sides.
  • The seating consists of natural boulders that are loosely placed under the trees as well as a bench that doubles as the main sign for the entire park.
  • A canopy over part of the stage acts as a central piece of art made from recycled steel beams that also holds the solar panels that power the park’s electrical needs.
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