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PLAYGROUND EQUIPMENT FUNDING OK'D

East Aurora's Warren Drive neighborhood children will have a new playground this spring.

The Aurora Town Board on Monday approved spending $14,243 for play equipment for the Warren Drive Park to be maintained by the town.

"I'm so excited," said Peggy Cooke, town recreation director, after the board voted. The board awarded the contract to the low bidder, GameTime of Rochester.

During the town's summer recreation registration, which began Monday, Cooke said, "Young families were very excited about the potential for the park."

Other than three bounce animals and a balance beam, there is no play equipment at the Warren Drive Park. Last summer, the town removed old equipment at several of its parks -- saying that most of its playgrounds were unsafe.

The playground, to be built May 21 by community volunteers, will include two play areas -- one known as a tot lot for 2- to 5-year-olds and one for 5- to 12-year-olds. The tot lot will include two slides, a crawling tunnel and raised sand dish, as well as a swing set. The play areas will be cushioned with wood chips and be surrounded by a chain-link fence.

Supervisor Terence Yarnall said families have told him there isn't enough equipment for children to use the park now.

"I think the community will be really involved and volunteer in the build," he said.

Starting next month, the town also plans additional upgrades for the park. Those improvements include installing two benches, adding four new picnic tables, improving lighting in the parking lot, replacing the roof on the picnic shelter and the gravel beneath it, sanding and staining existing picnic tables, removing dead trees and bushes and cleaning out the ditch.

Town officials also said they plan to work with police to address parking lot problems that exist in the upper section of the Warren Drive area. Some youth hangout problems have shifted from Hamlin Park to Warren Drive, town leaders said.

Those interested in helping build the new playground should contact Cooke at Town Hall at 652-8866. The build is planned for 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 21. A GameTime representative will be on site to oversee the project.

Last year, Hamlin Park received a new playground donated by Fisher-Price to replace the former Hamlin Outdoor Playground, which had unacceptable arsenic levels in its pressure-treated wood.

e-mail: krobinson@buffnews.com

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