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Kent playground plans get boost

An amazing gift has been given to the Kent elementary school community.

An anonymous donor has offered up the $50,000 it will take to complete the first portion of a major playground overhaul. More information will be made available about the donation in September,  said Kent's parent advisory council chair Jamie Fisher.

But in the meantime, work can get underway on the primary grade-focused playground.

It's a dream come true, Fisher said. Not just for her and the other members of the playground fundraising committee, but for the whole community.

"We started this at the beginning of the year and thought we might be senior citizens by the time it's finished," she said. Playgrounds come with a hefty price tag, and with a small school community, fundraising can be difficult.

But the generous donation has made things very, very easy.

The first phase of the playground comes in at about $50,000. Several smaller phases bring the project total to about $80,000.

Fundraising locally, through in-school events and an evening at Echo Island Pub, has raised them more than $13,000.

There should be playground equipment ready to be used by students by the time they return to class in the fall, Fisher said.

"This has changed our strategy, big time," she said.

Now they can focus on their next plans, including providing equipment for mobility-challenged students.

Fisher said it took the entire community, within the school and outside its walls, to make this miracle happen. When it's completed, the playground will be an attraction for families with young children.

"It's nothing that hasn't been seen but it's going to be new to the community," she said. "Our playground will be the biggest and newest in the community, a new appealing space for our community."

In a letter to their donors, Fisher explained just how meaningful their support is.

"I once heard it said an act of kindness has the power to change lives," she said. "This donation will indeed change lives, it already has. It has reminded me that the kindness in this world is sometimes bigger than we could ever dream."

The school district is also supporting the project, with materials and staff time.

news@ahobserver.com

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