BROWNVILLE, Maine — Brownville Elementary School students have seen their more-than-20-year-old playground shrink over the years as pieces were broken and not replaced.
It also has not gone unnoticed by the Parent Teacher Organization, which now is helping the more than 100 children raise funds to purchase new playground pieces.
“There are a lot of pieces that we’ve lost” over the years because of their condition, Chris Beres, Brownville Elementary principal, said Friday. While some portable equipment such as basketball hoops and tetherballs have been added, all that remains of the actual playground equipment is a slide and some swings.
The PTO, the children and the faculty, which have combined their efforts, are now well on their way to a new community playground, which will include a climbing apparatus and other pieces to help children exercise, according to Beres. She said the school was awarded a $30,200 federal grant for the playground, which must be matched.
Earl Gerrish Jr. and Sons Inc. of Brownville volunteered to donate $15,000 worth of earth and drainage work as an in-kind match in preparation for the new playground.
Wanting to help out the school and the community, the families of Andrew Larson, a young man who died last year, and George Richardson, a longtime Brownville Junction resident who died recently, had donations sent to the school for the playground.
With those memorial donations, fundraising events by the PTO and penny drives, nearly $12,000 of the remaining $15,000 needed as the match has been raised, Beres said.
While they are on the receiving end with the playground, the children have done much to help the community, according to Beres. They have raised money for leukemia and Eastern Maine Medical Center, collected food for the local food cupboard and items for military service members. They also sing each Christmas to residents of a nearby senior housing development.
While engaged in these activities, they have raised nearly $1,800 for the new playground, Beres said. On Feb. 10, the 100th day of school, the pupils plan to bring in 100 pennies each to boost the fund. Beres said the children were urged to earn the pennies by doing small jobs around their homes.
“The children are very excited about having a new playground and they’re more than willing to give of themselves and give money for it,” Beres said. “The playground is definitely going to happen.”
Anyone who wants to contribute to the playground fund can forward donations to Brownville Elementary School, 774 Main Road, Brownville 04414. The envelopes should be marked for the playground fund.