St. Mary inches closer to new playground

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St. Mary School’s playground was dismantled over the weekend in anticipation of a new one which should be completed by June.

Thirty volunteers descended upon the school to help dismantle the 21-year-old structure, which needed to be replaced to keep up to code.

“The playground was deemed by Alberta regulations as unsafe, due to rotting pilings and the pressure treated wood components,” said fundraising committee president Wendy Batog. “We’ve been fundraising since 2013 for the new playground.”

Batog noted that between the engineering costs, the new equipment and getting all the materials together, the playground has a $350,00 price tag, which has been covered by fundraising.

Efforts the raise the needed cash ranged from spaghetti sales and hot dog stands, to running flea markets and helping out with the Town of Westlock census.

“We also received very generous donations from the Town of Westlock, the Westlock Rotary Club and the Alberta government,” said Batog.

Taking down the park marks a major milestone for the school and the committee as Batog explained that much of the planning had been finished years ago and they were chiefly waiting on getting all the funds in place.

“We have a committee of people who got together three years ago to discuss what we wanted for play features in our park,” she said.

The new park, manufactured by the Edmonton-based company PlayQuest, features a 75-foot zipline, tire swing, gazebo, swing set and a rotating climber.

“If you can imagine what an old merry-go-round looked like, then add a series of rope ladders knotted up like a witch hat, that’s a rotating climber,” Batog explained. “We’ll have all sorts of things that spin and twirl. Things for all types of children.”

While the playground is mainly intended for St. Mary School, Batog noted that it was also a gift for the neighbourhood and the town as a whole.

“We are the only play structure in the Southview community,” she said. “It also creates a structure for our daycare system in the summer.”

Batog noted that the park was the results of the effort of all of Westlock and expressed her gratitude to her fellow committee members and the town.

“I just want to thank the community for all its financial and volunteer support,” she added.

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