Playground fence built on gifts of $3 per picket

October 26, 1994|By Gregory P. Kane | Gregory P. Kane,Sun Staff Writer

Bruce Miller had only worked at Lake Waterford Park since spring and already several children had wandered off the playground and into the nearby woods or onto the parking lot.

He knew a fence was needed, but when Mr. Miller, a park ranger, raised the idea, he was told there wasn't enough money for such a project.

Enter Ray Cate and his fortuitous summer trip to Manheim, Pa. Mr. Cate, maintenance foreman for Lake Waterford Park, had seen a picket fence around a Manheim park and thought a similar fence might solve the problem at Lake Waterford.

He passed the idea about the picket fence on to Mr. Miller about one to two months after he returned. From there a plan took shape: Why not sell pickets, have them engraved with a sponsor's name, then use the pickets to build the fence?

Now, the park is raising money for the project by selling the individual pickets for $3 apiece.

A few sections of the fence are already up, Mr. Miller said. The fence will be dedicated at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday. Officials from the Department of Parks and Recreation, community groups and the county Police Department are expected to attend.

Mr. Cate has downplayed his role as the man who came up with the idea for the picket fence.

"He [Bruce Miller] came up with the project. I just mentioned it to him," said Mr. Cate.

Regardless of who gets the credit, people in the county have taken to the idea. A county Boy Scout troop will install the 3-foot-tall pickets around the playground's 80-by-70-foot perimeter as part of an effort to earn Eagle Scout status. A group known as the Friends of Lake Waterford Park has volunteered to sell the pickets.

Eastern District Officer Steven Moody organized county police officers to support the project. So far, department employees have bought 140 pickets.

Between 400 and 500 of the 1,500 pickets needed to complete the project have been sold, Mr. Miller said.

Lake Waterford was completed in 1989 and is a popular attraction with children. The children's playground at Lake Waterford is a Robert Leathers playground, with a castle, drawbridge, maze and other wooden structures to stimulate a child's imagination.

"They have a Robert Leathers playground [in Manheim]," said Mr. Cate. "I was impressed with the playground and the fence they put around it."

Robert Leathers is a New York-based company that designs playgrounds for children, mainly by letting children draw pictures of the kind of playground they want, then building from there, said Mr. Miller.

Anyone wishing to buy a picket should call Lake Waterford Park at 222-6248.

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