Children in the Olde Sawmill neighborhood could have a new playground as soon as September.
The city of Columbus dismantled Discovery Playground early this year and replacement work is expected to start as soon as this week.
Neighborhood resident Stephen Kron wanted a nice playground for the area, so he started fundraising efforts for more equipment. He said last week that 10 additional pieces will be installed this month.
"We set our initial goal at $60,000 and then found out what everything would cost," he said. "We wanted to do a system of playgrounds, but that didn't seem to be favored as much by elementary students, so we thought we would be able to get away with $30,000."
After polling Olde Sawmill and Granby elementary school students, 10 pieces of playground equipment were chosen to augment what Columbus is installing.
Some of the more costly items, such as a merry-go-round, were sponsored by local businesses, Kron said.
"We have wonderful big donors: Kroger, T. Marzetti and Germain Ford," he said. "Others can do that, too."
So far, the group has raised $43,000 and sent a check for the playground equipment last week. But fundraising efforts will continue with an eye on making other improvements to the park. Members still hope to attain the original $60,000 goal.
"Columbus didn't plan for a facility like this," Kron said. "We're going to do this in phases. If we raise $60,000, we'll have $14,000 for phase two with benches and tables."
More playground equipment is an option since the park has lots of space, Kron said.
To reach their goal, the Discovery Playground group is selling bricks that will be installed at the park. Bricks are $125 and names can be engraved on them.
"If we raise $80,000, we'll just keep going," Kron said. "There are so many different possibilities. This has already gone beyond my wildest dreams."
In the meantime, the group will watch the construction of the new playground.
Installation of the equipment provided by the city of Columbus is expected to take place this week or next. Equipment funded by the Discovery Playground group should be installed the week of Aug. 18 or 25.
Benches, trees and other landscaping are expected to be installed in the fall or next spring.
Kron said he hopes to hold a playground dedication with the surrounding schools in late August or September.
For more information about the project and fundraising, visit discoveryplayground.net.