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Stark Co. Commission tables playground funding request

Rosalie Hunke, 9, of Gladstone, hangs from a swing set on the Taylor Public School playground Thursday as her fellow classmates rock teeter-totters.

Taylor Public School officials requested money from the Stark County Park Board for a new playground, but commissioners want to see how much cash the school can raise on its own before contributing.

Members of Parents Active with School say their insurance provider will no longer cover the aged playground for safety reasons. The school has raised about $8,000, with a goal of reaching $57,000 by mid-April, commissioners said during last week's meeting.

The board tabled the request and asked Commissioner Jay Elkin of Taylor to keep tabs on the school's progress.

"I'd like to see what they can potentially raise before we involve ourselves in this money," Elkin said.

While commissioners are waiting to put money toward the project, they agree a new playground is a worthy investment.

"The enrollment, let's face it, it's been increasing," Elkin said. "This playground equipment is used year-round."

Commissioner Ken Zander agrees.

"It's almost a city park," Zander said.

Colette "Koko" Gjermundson, a PAWS volunteer, is happy the board supports "Project Playground."

"It's fine with PAWS that (commissioners) want to wait and see how the funding comes in before they make their decision on an amount," Gjermundson said.

Gjermundson admits the project is overdue, considering some of the equipment is up to 30 years old.

"We don't have any type of cushioning, no fall zones," Gjermundson said. "We've been aware of it for years."

PAWS wants to install a play tower with slides, a bridge, assorted climbers, ramps, ladders, rock walls and interactive play panels, Gjermundson said, adding that the school will hold on to one of the old slides.

"We will also install a wood fiber surface, which helps improve our safety standards," she said.

School officials want this equipment up before the next school year, Elkin said.