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Paynesville Press - May 24, 2006

Playground improvements coming to Paynesville Area Elementary School this summer

By Michael Jacobson

Over $50,000 in improvements to the playground at Paynesville Area Elementary School - called Chutes 'n' Ladders - are planned this summer.

Playground The first phase - consisting of two new pieces of equipment costing $12,000 - are already in place. The city and school district agreed to a cost-sharing agreement for the remaining improvements - calling for the city to cover one- third of the work - earlier this month.

The school district plans to pay for its two-thirds of the project half from its capital improvement fund and half from fundraising at the elementary school.

The district's original proposal for playground improvements called for a budget of $45,000. But the city, as a stipulation of their participation in the improvements, requested that the school district also fix its drainage problem on the playground by connecting its drains to the city's stormsewer. This is expected to add another $7,500 to the project. The city expects to spend $17,500 (one-third of $52,500) on the playground project.

The second phase of the project - to be done this summer - includes removing one swing set (which no longer meets code) and installing a 50' by 84' concrete slab with six basketball hoops. This is an effort to have more activities on the playground for the older students (fourth and fifth graders) at the elementary school.

Other possible improvements - depending on costs this summer - include a tot lot, replacing swing sets, and volleyball or soccer nets.

Sophomore Allie Wendroth, a local Girl Scout, is also planning to refurbish some existing equipment (repainting, etc.) and to install a gate facing the city's Gazebo Park (across Washburne Avenue) at the elementary playground this summer. In an effort to have elementary students continue to contribute to this project, Wendroth has organize a Loose Change for Loose Paint at the elementary school.

The elementary playground is located at the intersection of Washburne Avenue and Mill Street. During school recesses, the public should be cautious about using the park (due to the large numbers of students using it), but the playground is open to the public during non-school hours and during the summers.

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