By: Sharon Aron Baron
After 20 years of running the successful Safety Town program out of a triple wide trailer, city officials broke ground on the new building on Monday.
Safety Town, is a comprehensive early childhood, hands-on safety education program designed to introduce all types of safety situations to children between the ages of 4½ and 6½. It started in 1995 in a trailer that was supposed to be temporary but outlasted time – as well as Hurricane Wilma and a few tropical storms along the way. Besides the leaks in the roof, the rotted floor had to be replaced with plywood.
Parks and Recreation Director Rick Engle said that the new building will have plenty of room for the Kiwanis Club and the nine other nonprofits that use it. Inside, it will have an office, equipment space, kitchenette and a classroom. The classroom will be able to be divided into two section with sliding partitions.
“This project is a long time coming,” said Vice Mayor Dan Daley. “Safety Town has been a vital partner in teaching our youngest the basics of safety. We can’t exactly quantify how many lives have been saved using information learned in this program, but certainly one [life] is enough.”
The new building was paid for by the November 2014 General Obligation Bond which passed with 72 percent of the vote. The funds also went towards improving the public safety communications system, replacing Fire Stations 43 and 95, and renovating the Crime Scene Investigation facility. Also, according to Daley, the State chipped in $250,000 to help continue running the program.
The new building would constructed behind the trailer, which would then be removed to make room for more parking spaces which is required by code.
Safety Town of Coral Springs is a nonprofit organization sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Coral Springs in cooperation with the City of Coral Springs, the Police and Fire Departments.
It is estimated that thousands of young children have graduated from the summer Safety Town programs. And each year, nearly 3,000 kindergarten children benefit from the Safety Town for Kindergartners program sponsored by the Coral Springs Police Department and is now available to every elementary school in Coral Springs and Parkland on an annual basis.
Completion date is estimated to be in the late summer of 2016 and is located at 520 Ramblewood Drive.