Dublin Villager

Neighborhood raising funds to upgrade playground

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With the construction of Discovery Playground slated for August, fundraising efforts are spinning into full gear.

A goal of $60,000 has been set to supplement the equipment that will be installed by the Columbus Parks and Recreation Department, volunteers are aiming to have monetary commitments made later this month.

"Our goal date is June 21," said Stephen Kron, an Olde Sawmill neighborhood resident who is leading volunteers.

"We'll continue to enhance the playground over time," Kron said.

"We have a goal of getting commitments from people by June 21."

The former wooden structure that made up Discovery Playground was dismantled by Columbus over the winter and Kron said current plans are for construction in August.

"Suddenly we have to get the money to get everything installed in August or do it at a separate time and tear everything up again," he said.

Columbus is replacing the play structure at the playground, but Kron and other residents are hoping to add a few extra play elements for neighborhood children and $10,000 has been raised already.

The money in the coffers right now should fund three playground elements that run about $3,000 each.

"There's a spinney ride that's up in the air," Kron said.

"It's called the tilted skyrunner. We have enough money for that and a climbing thing... After that we don't know if we can put anything in."

Input on the color, name and play elements at Discovery Playground have come from neighborhood children.

Kron worked with students at Dublin's Olde Sawmill Elementary School and Worthington's Granby Elementary School to get feedback on what playground equipment they liked the most.

Unfortunately, the winner, a merry-go-round type of playground element, is $5,000 to purchase and about $10,000 to install.

"We're trying to limit it to $5,000 for each piece so we can install three pieces for $15,000 instead of one for $15,000," he said.

Kron hasn't entirely given up hope on the piece of playground equipment coveted by children, though.

"We'll have equipment circling around the playground," he said.

"There will be a hodgepodge of fun things for kids to do."

Discovery Playground volunteers are still seeking donations from local businesses and residents. Kron expects donations to continue to trickle in over the year and has plans to install landscaping, benches and a walkway in the future.

A final fundraiser has been slated for 6 to 9 p.m. June 21 at Coaches Bar and Grill on Bethel Road in northwest Columbus.

"It's owned by some neighbors in Olde Sawmill and they've donated free appetizers and drinks," Kron said.

"There will be a $20 cover charge and we'll unveil all the corporate donors and other donors."

Kron also anticipates announcing which playground elements the group will be able to afford.

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