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Playground Rises At Washington Irving Intermediate

TARRYTOWN, N.Y. – A small group of determined volunteers from the Elementary Parent-Teacher Association of the Public Schools of the Tarrytowns got out their toolkits early Saturday morning to build a playground at Washington Irving Intermediate School.

A few benches weren't delivered on time, and organizers say they eventually want to do some landscaping around the playground. But most of the work was completed on Saturday. The team started at 7:30 in the morning, continuing through the afternoon.

“The idea is to do this in one day,” EPTA President David Neilsen said. “...When school starts on Monday, the kids are going to have a playground to play on that's brand new.”

By 11 a.m., the volunteers had completed most of the work on the spaceball, a giant sphere. They just had to add the netting that would be hung throughout. The orbis, a jungle-gym like structure, was well on its way to completion as well.

Two men from the playground's design team were at the site, assisting the volunteers with the build. Some volunteers had construction experience, so they were put to work on the more labor-intensive parts. Kids were also helping out with the build.

“As long as there's one or two people to tell us what to do, it's simple,” Neilsen said. “And it's built that way: to be a community build. The company deals with comunity-built playgrounds, so they figure for the most part as volunteers do most of the work.”

Saturday was the rain date for the playground build. The original plan was to complete the structure two weeks ago before the start of school. Hurricane Irene got in the way . Neilsen said he was the optimist of the group, telling everyone that they would still be able to have the build because the hurricane wasn't supposed to hit until Sunday.

“By the time Saturday rolled around, we knew we couldn't do it,” he said. “So we had to figure out when we could do it. For liability purposes, we need the designer here. This was his first weekend that he was available.”

Neilsen said the EPTA was still fundraising for the playground, with a book sale planned for next Sunday at Washington Irving. The group is still collecting some outstanding grants too. The playground's designer has agreed to take what the group has raised so far and then let them pay the rest of the amount over time.

Overall, Neilsen said, “We're in good shape for where we are right now. We're happy.”

What do you think of the new playground at Washington Irving Intermediate?

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