Community Opens Playground Honoring Two Girls Who Perished In House Fire In 2013

Phase One of Sophie and Madigan Lillard Memorial Playground is called “Fantasyland”







Frederick, MD (KM) The ribbon was cut on Tuesday for the first phase of Sophie and Madigan’s Playground. The facility honoris two girls who perished in a house fire in 2013 is located on the West End of Frederick off of Contender Way.

The girls’ father, Jack Lillard, said the park will have three goals; one of which is creating a destination playground where kids and their families could visit to create memories.

“As we stand here today and introduce you to Fantasyland as phase one of Sophie and Madigan Lillard Memorial Playground, we think we’re well on our way to achieving those goals,” he said.

Lillard said more work on the park is expected to take place later this year:

“We’re currently working on finalizing the design of the entrance area that’s going to include a carousel-themed structure, donor recognition walls for each of the three phases, and a custom themed carousel horses that will be located throughout the playground area. We hope to complete that by late summer or early fall,” explained Lillard.

The second phase will be known as “Wonderland.”

“Wonderland play areas will feature teacup spinners, a fully-inclusive ground spinner, a musical garden, a super-slider, and a flamingo slide,” stated Lillard.

Lillard said the third phase will be called “Neverland.”

The money to pay for the park came from donations, and bond bills approved by the Maryland General Assembly. Delegate Karen Lewis Young helped steer some of these bills through the Legislature.

“Out of all the projects we fund, I can’t think of one that’s more enjoyable and makes me prouder to be able to bring state money back to the community,” said Young.

The playground was designed and constructed by Playground Specialists in Thurmont. President Jeff Barber was on hand to speak at Tuesday’s ribbon ceremony.

“I do hope that all of the children, including children from my own community that are down here playing on this playground year, after year, after year on beautiful days like this can stop and remember why this playground was fundraised and who it’s all about,” said Barber.

The girls’ father said this day fills him with sadness and hope because there are two people who won’t be able to enjoy this new playground.

“We invite you and all your families to explore and enjoy Fantasyland, and celebrate Sophie and Madigan by celebrating life,” said Lillard.

By Kevin McManus