BROWNVILLE, Maine — It took about a year for Brownville Elementary School pupils, their parents and other supporters to raise $45,000 for the new playground, which was dedicated Monday.
“We’re grateful for all of you,” school principal Lynn Weston told the crowd that gathered to watch the children and some adults cut the ceremonial ribbon on the colorful playground, which includes a climbing tower and slide among other pieces.
Hunter Hall, a second-grader, said the new playground was “great.” Asked which piece he liked the best, he replied, “All of it.”
While Leila Cuthbertsen, a sixth-grade pupil, will get only one year out of the playground before she moves on to Penquis Valley Middle School, she said she was glad it will be there for other kids. “It’s pretty important” for them to have, she said Monday.
Alexander Kearns, a fifth-grade pupil who had helped volunteers including her parents, John and Lynn Kearns, install the new equipment and lay the wood chips, said the new playground was needed badly. The other playground equipment was more than 20 years old, and “it was kinda run down,” she said.
For parent Joy McKenzie, the playground couldn’t come fast enough. McKenzie spearheaded the project for the Parent Teacher Organization.
“It’s just wonderful to see it come to fruition,” she said Monday. McKenzie said there was such an “outpouring” of support from the community to make it happen.
That support was bittersweet for some families who donated in memory of their loved ones. In lieu of flowers, Jim and Susan Larson asked that contributions be made to the playground in memory of their late son, Andrew Larson; Honorene Richardson did the same in memory of her late husband, George Richardson; as did the family of the late Donna Paul.
Those contributions, along with 200,000 pennies collected by the children, a grant, and in-kind contributions from several local businesses and individuals, were enough to construct the playground and to have a little in reserve for any further work.
“Everyone is thrilled to be here today,” Weston said.