Head to Our Special Harbor Sprayground at Lee District Park this summer, and you’re sure to notice some exciting new features including a custom-designed lighthouse, a sunken dinghy, an aqua sprayer and an anchors aweigh aqua sprayer, all of which tie in with the park’s Chesapeake Bay theme. The new features are the latest funded by Robert and Paola Pizzano and Joey Pizzano Memorial Fund (JPMF), the non-profit, charitable organization they started to honor the memory of their 6-year-old son, Joey, a child with developmental disabilities who died in an accidental drowning in 1998.
“The Joey Pizzano Memorial Fund’s expansion of Our Special Harbor exemplifies our organization’s desire to keep on doing what it has since the beginning – bring joy, bring families together,” Robert Pizzano said. “To commemorate 20 years since Joey’s death, we wanted to add on to the sprayground and continue Joey’s love of our family time in the Northern Neck of Virginia.”
Since it opened in 2010, Our Special Harbor has averaged 80,000 visitors between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The zero-depth water playground was designed to be fully accessible so that children of all abilities could play together.
“JPMF hopes we have captured the simple pleasures of our experiences at the river with the addition of the lighthouse, dinghy and anchor,” Robert Pizzano said. “Our wish is that Our Special Harbor allows all families to enjoy special time together with their children of all abilities, just like our family.”
In September 2018, JPMF commemorates its 20-year anniversary with a family fun day to thank donors and partners who helped make Our Special Harbor a reality. While the milestone is bittersweet for the Pizzanos, they take comfort in knowing JPMF’s contributions through the Fairfax County Park Foundation continue to honor Joey’s love of water by providing opportunities for other families to enjoy water play together in a safe environment.