Crown Heights Moms Replace Shuttered Kids' Play Space

By Gustavo Solis on February 24, 2014 9:35am 

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 Parents plan to open The Stomping Ground indoor play space on Classon Avenue in March.
The Stomping Ground
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BROOKLYN — Crown Heights moms who met at a now-shuttered local daycare center are opening a new play space for their kids this weekend.

The mothers — who met at It Takes a Village on Park Place, which closed in November — will launch The Stomping Ground on March 1 at 636 Classon Ave.

“We all met in this neighborhood, so it was important for us to create this space,” said Crown Heights mom Marie Clevering, 30. “A lot of us have small apartments that don’t have a lot of play space. We want it to be like a second home for us.”

The parents were initially negotiating a lease for a new spot on Franklin Avenue and hoped to open at the beginning of the year, but that space fell through, Clevering said.

The new location, near Dean Street, is even better because it has a backyard space, which could be converted into a play area in the summer.

Apart from hosting play dates and birthday parties, the center will also offer prenatal classes, drama classes, sing-along sessions, parent support groups and yoga classes for adults.

Forty families had signed up for memberships as of last week, Clevering said. Monthly memberships cost $50 to $70, while annual memberships cost $500 to $700. The founders are also accepting donations of play equipment and had raised $5,335 as of Friday.

The parents' former play space, It Takes A Village, closed because seasonal fluctuations in memberships made business unsustainable, owner Michael de Zayas previously told DNAinfo New York.

"The need for a physical space is seasonal in nature — the winter months, the colder months, there’s really strong need for an indoor play space, and the rest of the year there’s much less of a need," de Zayas said.  "It’s hard to sustain the expenses year-round."

The Stomping Ground hopes to overcome that hurdle by offering classes year-round.

“We got lucky,” Clevering said of the new space.

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