Committee needs $50,000 to swing new playground


November 07, 2001|By Pat Brodowski | Pat Brodowski,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

A GROUP FROM Spring Garden Elementary is launching a seven-month plan to elicit corporate, community and classroom support for replacing the school playground.

Continuous use by the community since the school opened in 1991 has left the Big Toy playground equipment unsafe, the school insurance inspector determined. Portions have rotted and broken, or been abused by unsupervised children.

The Spring Garden Community Playground Committee - 27 parents, teachers and the principal - is planning and raising funds for a new playground, which members hope will be ready in September.

Bonnie Lawson, who has children in private and public schools, leads the committee. The group has learned the school PTA will not help. The PTA cannot pinpoint the expenditure of its funds, which are given to the school for field trips and enrichment activities.

The Carroll County Board of Education will not supply funds because "play components do not offer instructional value," Lawson said. "Tax dollars are for instructional materials first. School systems no longer pay for playground equipment."

Replacing the school's worn equipment will cost $50,000, or about $70 for every child enrolled.

The committee is addressing problems with the playground, including paying to maintain it and to make it visible to police from Boxwood Drive.

Because the community uses the playground when school is not in, the committee plans to ask businesses and organizations for support. The group plans a series of community events to raise funds and hopes to finish collecting by June 1 and build during the summer.

The first fund-raiser, "Pennies for the Playground," begins Friday. The group will ask schoolchildren to contribute pocket change until May 30.

"A little girl came to my door and handed me a handful of pennies, so we started effectively yesterday with $1.47," Lawson said.

The playground committee meets at 7 p.m. Nov. 20 in the school's media center.

Information: Bonnie Lawson, 410-239-4780.

Tree planting, memorial

In a public Veterans Day ceremony in Hampstead, Brownie Troop 4008 will plant a tree and unveil a memorial at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Roberts Field Pavilion on Boxwood Drive.

Representatives of the military, churches, schools, community organizations, fire, police and sheriff's departments will speak.

The seven girls in Troop 4008 sold 1,421 boxes of Girl Scout cookies, including 31 boxes donated back to the troop that they will send to survivors of the World Trade Center attacks.

The girls are Brooke Albertini, Jessica Cruise, Alysha Esworthy, Katie Gartrell, Selena Kelly, Rachel Robbins and Chelsea Stultz. All are in first and second grades. Co-leaders are Carla Esworthy and Cherie Stultz.

The girls decided to dedicate the 52 cents per box profit to honor those touched by the terrorist attacks Sept. 11. They bought an oak tree and a granite monument, which was inscribed with words they wrote together: "This tree is dedicated in memory of those who lost their lives Sept. 11, 2001."

Members of the American Legion will lead a flag ceremony. Hampstead Mayor Christopher M. Nevin will help the girls shovel earth around the tree. The Rev. David Sulcer of Westminster Church of God will lead a prayer for victims and to dedicate the tree.

Speakers will include Nevin; Martin K.P. Hill, the developer of Roberts Field; Cheryl Wahl, vice president of Fields Homeowners Association; and Gloria Julius, principal of Spring Garden Elementary.

The Brownies will sing the national anthem and other patriotic songs, accompanied by Bill Ruby on saxophone and Andrew Wahl on trombone.

Guests will be members of the Hampstead, Manchester, Sykesville, Westminster and Baltimore police departments; sheriff's departments of Carroll and Howard counties; and Marines.

Members of the public are encouraged to speak. Light refreshments will follow the dedication.

Mathias Monuments of Westminster carved the monument.

Information: Carla Esworthy, 410-239-7578.

Pat Brodowski's North neighborhood column appears each Wednesday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

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