PTO to phase in

PTO to phase in

new playground

at Stevenson

The Grandview Heights K-6 PTO is planning to have the first stage of a new sensory playground installed next spring at Stevenson Elementary.

The multi-station sensory playground will replace the previous kindergarten playground at Stevenson, which had to be dismantled last fall because of safety concerns.

The new playground will be built in the original space at the rear of the school near the kindergarten classrooms.

"Our original idea was to build the playground all at one time," said Tiffany Martin, the PTO's K-6 grant chair. "But in these difficult times, everybody is competing for all the dollars they can get and we decided it would be more practical to build the playground in phases as money becomes available."

The first phase would likely include swings, a teeter-totter, spinning equipment and other equipment to promote active play, she said.

"This first phase would probably cost at least $10,000 or more, whatever we can raise between now and the spring," Martin said.

The overall vision for playground includes such elements as an art station with a place for children to paint and create and interactive murals; a music station with outdoor interactive instruments for youngsters to play; a wheelchair-accessible path for tricycle riding; and climbing walls.

Touch and smell plants would be arrayed throughout the site and binoculars set up for children to observe activity at several bird houses.

The sensory elements of the playground would be helpful for students with special developmental issues, such as autism.

The total estimated cost of the completed playground as envisioned is about $80,000. Roughly $45,000 of that amount would be for new surfacing, Martin said.

The existing surface at the playground site can support the equipment that would be installed in the first phase, she said.

"We're appreciative of the support we've received from the community so far," Martin said.

Although the PTO was not successful in its effort over the summer to win a grant through the competitive Refresh Everything Pepsi Project, the playground received enough online votes to put it in the top 30 percent of its division nationwide.

"We got a lot of votes, especially for being such a small community, but it's hard for a small town like Grandview to get enough votes to win," Martin said.

The PTO has applied for other grants, including a $10,000 state grant that is being administered through Ohio Attorney General's office, she said.

"We have some private companies that we have also approached," Martin said.

The PTO has dedicated $5,000 toward the project and Cameron Mitchell has donated $250, she said.

A fundraising day held earlier this year at Dewey's Pizza generated $1,435, Martin said.

Dewey's will hold a second fundraising day from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Oct. 18, she said. Dewey's, 1327 W. Fifth Ave., will donate a percentage of all eat-in and take-out orders to the playground project.

In-kind pledges for installation and labor have also been offered by some local contractors and residents, Martin said.

"We've been working on this project for about a year, and we've been able to raise a lot of money and support in that time," she said. "There's still a lot of work to do."

Anyone wishing to make a donation or volunteer to work on the project should inquire at www.grandviewpto.net, she said. More information about the project is available at www.facebook.com/GrandviewHeightsPTOPlayground.

afroman@thisweeknews.com

www.ThisWeekNews.com