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Published: Tuesday, 5/19/2009

Students at OLPH get a new place to play

BY JENNIFER FEEHAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Carol Kutcher rakes the ground before mulch is put on the new playground at OLPH. Carol Kutcher rakes the ground before mulch is put on the new playground at OLPH.
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From behind the yellow caution tape, students at Our Lady of Perpetual Help School have been eyeing a long-awaited, new playground that began to take shape two weeks ago.

Volunteers converged at the school along the Anthony Wayne Trail in South Toledo May 9 to erect the centerpiece of a $45,000 playground project - a brown-and-green jungle gym complete with slides, swings, and an 8-foot rock climbing wall.

"It's going to be fun," said third-grader Anna DiSalle, who has been watching the progress.

Zoe Mazur, also a third-grader, said she and her Mom helped build the playground, which she said she's looking forward to trying out.

"I helped sweep and I helped carry a big pole to where they needed it," she said.

Cori Whipple helps works on the playground at the school off the Anthony Wayne Trail. Cori Whipple helps works on the playground at the school off the Anthony Wayne Trail.
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The playground, which is expected to open to the children today, is the result of more than a year of work and fund-raising by a committee of parents who wanted to make recess better for students.

Hanna Hagerman, who headed up the playground focus group, said OLPH has not had a playground for at least 20 years and, even when it had one, she hears it wasn't much to look at.

"I hear it was rusty swings, a rusty merry-go-round," Ms. Hagerman said.

First-year Principal Lori Anderson said she has lamented the lack of a playground ever since she came to the school as a second-grade teacher 15 years ago.

"It has been one of my biggest goals to get a playground here," she said. "I had never been in a school that didn't have something for kids."

She said when she was named principal last April, the playground committee started meeting and she signed up to be part of it. More than a year later, she's thrilled to see it finally in place.

"I see it and it just makes me smile," Miss Anderson said.

The playground group raised money in some of the usual ways like bake sales and through student efforts, but also earned $16,000 selling engraved bricks for a pathway at the playground, Ms. Hagerman said.

It received a $12,000 contribution from the Jeanne Hickey Memorial Fund, which was created in memory of an OLPH graduate who was killed by a drunken driver on the Trail in the 1970s when she was 15. Aptly, the playground has been named the Jeanne Hickey Memorial Playground.

Ms. Hagerman said the project also benefited from several donations of materials, including fencing from Marleau Hercules Fence Co. and concrete from Kuhlman Corp.



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