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Parents press on with playground

Glenmerry confident it will raise $10,000 more despite losing Pepsi challenge
Glenmerry Elementary School principal Patrick Audet and student Denis Grinblats presented Teck’s Carol Vanelli Worosz with a commemorative plaque in recognition of the company’s $20

Glenmerry Elementary School has nearly raised enough money to install the first wheelchair-accessible playground in the West Kootenay.

But parents are looking to the community for the remaining funds after the Glenmerry Community Playground project wasn’t selected as the winner in a Pepsi Refresh project that wrapped up last year.

Submitted with a “no one left behind” tagline, the playground project received much support for its bid to win $25,000 in the Pepsi competition that awarded those with “refreshing” ideas who looked to make a difference in their community.

The new playground, currently being stored by the school district, will not only include a wheelchair circuit, but a roller slide, overhead spinners, zip line, step bridge, dual slide, climbing wall and more. Kids of any age and of any mobility level can easily get onto the playground and descend from it at their own comfort level.

Nearly all of Glenmerry’s 290 students were highlighted in an inclusion video featured on the competition website, where votes were cast from November to the end of 2010. The playground project took 11th place out of about 55 different submissions.

“We were in eighth place for most of the contest,” said parent advisory council chair Sheryl Moon. “It didn’t tell you how many votes you received.”

Regardless, Moon is impressed with the level of support from the community, adding that the total cost of the project has reduced from about $231,000 to $189,000 since a number of recent donations were made.

West K Concrete provided concrete for the project, Maglio Building Supplies contributed rebar; the LeRoi Community Foundation submitted $2,500 and CUPE Local 1285 agreed to help community volunteers build it.

“We’re still going to fundraise, but we are forging ahead with all of our plans,” said Moon.

About $96,000 has already been spent on the equipment, and now only $10,000 more needs to be raised for the $93,000 installation. While that is still a big chunk of money, Moon is confident the remaining funds will be raised, as they have estimated the installation cost on the higher side.

Final fundraising efforts are underway with plans for both a spring flower sale and a spell-a-thon — where parents and community members will sponsor kids on a spelling test — to meet the April 9 and 10 targeted installation dates.

The parent advisory council is hosting a free bingo family night at the elementary school gym Thursday at 6 p.m., where, in addition, several baskets donated by local businesses will be raffled off.

Glenmerry’s parents are looking for volunteers to install the equipment and anyone willing to donate heavy equipment such as dump trucks, a hole digger and a bobcat.

For more information, contact Moon at 368-5994.