Danbury playground project

Danbury Playground Project
Posted on 03/05/2019

Pembroke School is continuing its fundraising efforts to build the district’s first accessible playground for students and to date has raised $28,700 toward its goal of $150,000.

The improved construction plans will replace an existing playground with limited features for students with disabilities. The new design will feature American with Disabilities Act (ADA)-approved equipment, such as wide bridges and equipment that is lower to the ground. It is projected that with the upcoming fundraisers, the project will have collected $100,000 by May.

On April 30, The Golf Club at Oxford Greens in Oxford will host a golf outing open to the public with all proceeds to be donated to the playground. Cartus, Inc. in Danbury recently hosted a corporate lunch to present the project to employees and will raised employee contributions.

Danbury restaurants, Hummus & Pita Co. on Federal Road and McDonalds on Padanaram Road, also participated in fundraising events in February. Teachers from Pembroke worked behind counters and greeted customers at McDonald’s McTeacher event to raise $940; Hummus & Pita raised $342.

“This project has been embraced by our school wide population, not just Pembroke. We have other schools that have done fundraising for us,” said fundraising coordinator and Pembroke special education teacher Leigh Viviano.

Other schools in the district, as well as members of the community, are working together to support the construction of the Pembroke Playground. The athletic department at Danbury High School allowed Pembroke to collect donations at home football games, while King Street Intermediate raised $100 from bottle deposits. Elementary schools, Stadley Rough and Park Avenue, have also donated: The Kindness and Compassion Club at Stadley Rough donated $300, while Park Avenue established a penny collection, “Pennies for Pembroke.” A Ridgefield elementary school recently donated $1,000.

“It’s been really fantastic to have these other schools in the district stepping forward to contribute,” said Pembroke principal Dr. Sharon Epple. “I’m certain that all of this fundraising wouldn’t have been possible without the tireless work of Ms. Viviano and Board of Education member Richard Jannelli. The work they have done to raise money for this playground has been astounding.”

The accessible playground will be open to all schools and surrounding towns to utilize during non-school hours.

State representatives David Arconti and Kenneth Gucker, along with Sen. Julie Kushner, are seeking state bonds to assist in the project while area businesses are pitching in by hanging signs and handing out brochures. The city will assist by providing some of the labor and preparation and site work necessary to improve conditions at the playground before the playground can be assembled.

Due to current issues, such as drainage problems, students have only been able to use the playground once in January and once in February. Because of the overwhelming support from the community and schools, Viviano expects that the financial goal will be met by summer. If the goal amount for the playground is exceeded, it will allow for additional equipment such as accessible swings, shade panels and sensory equipment.

For more information on the playground or to make a donation, please visit www.thepembrokeplayground.com