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Elsmere parents launch into fundraising

New playground would cost $100k, grants and community support sought

The current Elsmere elementary playground.

The current Elsmere elementary playground. Photo by Marcy Velte.

— The Elsmere Elementary School PTA has officially begun the fundraising process to purchase a new playground for the school, and hope to get construction started in the summer of 2013.

Playground Committee Co-Vice Presidents Amy Cohen and Robyn Holstein first presented the plan at a PTA meeting in late January. Portions of the current playground are 20 years old and do not meet current safety guidelines, and there’s only one play element available for children with disabilities.

In February, the PTA voted to begin fundraising for repairs and upgrades to the playground. The look and size of the playground will depend on how much money can be raised.

“It’s been really nice to see all of the support forthcoming from the Elsmere community since this idea went public,” said Cohen.

The group is now applying for grants and seeking community support. Independent fundraisers will also be held. In the future, the PTA may ask for volunteers to aid in installing the playground to save money and would also be seeking donated services and materials, like cement and construction equipment.

Parents have been concerned about safety at the playground, and began researching what it would take to make repairs or upgrades to the facility. Some wooden retaining walls are rotting, a tire swing is broken and roped off and some equipment does not meet safety guidelines.

District Operations and Maintenance Director Gregg Nolte said the district makes inspections and minor repairs to playgrounds each year, but sometimes equipment must be removed or roped off because the district does not have the money to replace it.

The tire swing has since been fixed by the district and a parent volunteered the services of his construction company to help replace the retaining walls and re-grade the land with new mulch.

“It’s a really, really wonderful outcome to show that the parents and school district can work together to actually get something done,” said Holstein.

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