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Fundraisers for playgrounds are on tight timetable

Volunteers hope to raise the money needed for the Orchard Park School District's share of playgrounds and synthetic turf by February -- an ambitious schedule for coming up with almost $700,000.

District voters approved the playgrounds and turf in May, as part of a $24 million capital project.

The $2.29 million for the playgrounds and turf can be spent only if the community raises the district's share, $687,600, by next Sept. 30, said Jeffrey Petrus, assistant superintendent for administration and personnel. State aid would cover the rest.

But if the playgrounds and new field are to be ready for next fall, the money has to be raised this winter. The state Education Department then can review the project.

Each of the four elementary schools started fund drives for playground equipment, and the Orchard Park Quaker Athletic Foundation has been established to raise $528,000 for the $1.8 million field.

"There is a lot that needs to happen in a short amount of time," acknowledged Daryl P. Ciambella, foundation president.

While his children now are grown up, he said he was committed to the effort.

"It is a very worthwhile investment in the community," Ciambella said, adding, "I certainly wish it was there when my kids played there."

The foundation has raised about $25,000, he said, and plans to solicit businesses, alumni and individuals.

A $35,000 donor will receive recognition on the scoreboard, and a company donating $15,000 will get an engraved granite bench along the walkway to the field.

Donations of $7,500 will be recognized by plaques placed in front of specially planted trees. Plaques on the entrance wall, as well as with granite and cobblestone pavers, will recognize smaller donations.

Every donor -- small and large -- will be listed in game day programs handed out at the field, Ciambella said.

"Our plan is that it will be off and running; we'll be in full stride in the next two weeks," Ciambella said.

For more information, or to make a donation, visit the Web site

The funding targets for elementary schools vary with playground needs. South Davis already reached its goal of $54,000, while the goals are $50,100 for Eggert, $37,500 for Ellicott and $18,000 for Windom.

Eggert Principal Lisa M. Krueger said the schools are holding creative fundraisers, from an ice cream social with a basket raffle to an adult comedy night, wreath sale and an event involving stores at Orchard Park Plaza.

"It's not necessarily going to be one thing that takes care of it," she said, adding, "There's no way we would have this without the parent-teacher organizations."


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