Helping Hands Need Tools for Playground Project
Byline: Sheri Buttstadt
Do you remember the old Peter, Paul and Mary song "If I Had a Hammer?"
That could be the theme song for a group of determined volunteers that wants to build an extraordinary playground on McKinley Elementary School grounds for the entire community to enjoy.
Actually, organizers are looking to borrow about 50 carpenter's hammers as well as many other tools for the hundreds of volunteers that will be needed to build the playground between Oct. 15 and 20.
Organizers have named the ambitious project Common Grounds, which brings elements of our whole community together to turn a dream into reality.
In April, children were asked to help design the playground. Representatives from Leathers and Associates, a national leader in community-built projects, used their suggestions in the design.
The playground will be wheelchair accessible.
In March, a committee was granted $100,000 in Federal Community Development Block Grant funds from the Elgin City Council, with the organizers' commitment to raise a similar amount.
Since April, children, parents and community groups have been busy securing donations of tools, building materials and money to cover costs not included by the grant.
Dr. Michael Seigle, a local doctor and McKinley alumnus, is heading up the effort.
Nearly 1,000 volunteers will be needed during the five-day construction period, both to assemble the playground and landscape it and provide child care and food.
Help is being sought from community groups, churches, civic organizations and corporations to supply teams of volunteers.
The first three days - Wednesday through Friday - are critical, because if the preliminary work doesn't get done those who volunteered for the weekend can't be used, volunteer coordinator Jodie Stackowiak said.
The playground will take 3,000 pieces of 14-foot lumber, 400 pounds of nails, 7,000 square feet of wood mulch and 16,000 square feet of geo-textile fabric.
Tool coordinator Alan Choutka is seeking people willing to lend tools for the construction days. …