Three weeks after a fire melted and destroyed playground equipment at Discovery Community Park, city officials are inviting the neighborhood to a party in the park Thursday night to show that the popular spot continues to be a place to play.
The Community Fun Day will be held from 5 to 7 p.m., and offers field games, arts and crafts and free hot dogs and snacks, while costumed characters will meet and greet.
In addition, children can create posters of how they would design the rebuilt park. The posters will be part of a town hall meeting with Laurel children that Laurel Mayor Craig Moe has planned in the coming weeks, according to city spokesman Pete Piringer.
Discovery Community Park, located at Greenhill Drive and Harrison Street, was one of three parks in Laurel that were hit by fires this month. Two juveniles were arrested and charged with arson in a small fire at Granville Gude Park's playground March 8. A third fire destroyed the playground equipment at Emancipation Community Park on March 11.
Fire investigators determined that the fires at Discovery and Emancipation parks were set by arsonists.
A Community Fun Day planned at Emancipation Community Park on Tuesday was cancelled because of the snow storm earlier this week.
The park events are an effort by city officials to let the community know the damaged parks are still open and that work is being undertaken aggressively to rebuild the damaged playgrounds, according to Piringer.
“We wanted to show that Parks and Recreation (Department) is committed to rebuilding the playgrounds before summer,” Piringer said.
City officials are offering a $5,000 reward for any information that leads to an arrest and conviction connected with the fires at Discovery and Emancipation parks. Anyone with information on the playground fires can call the Prince George's County Fire/EMS arson tip line at 301-772-7766.
This story has been updated.