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Fish fries to help fund playground

Playground weather might be a ways off, but a group in the Sweet Home School District is working to get new equipment for the children by summer.

The Glendale Playground Committee is revving up its efforts to raise money to replace the equipment at Glendale Elementary School in the Town of Tonawanda.

Three fish fries are planned to close the gap of about $10,000.

Dinners will be available from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 20 and April 10 at the Glendale Drive school on a strictly drive-through basis; no on-site dining will be available.

Prices are $8.50 for fish dinners and $6.50 for chicken finger dinners.

The current playground equipment, dedicated in May 1990, is made of wood. The new equipment, to consist of steel and vinyl, will comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act.

"We have a classroom of special-needs children that currently do not have full use of the playground," said Tammy Sempert, a member of the committee.

The group was formed early last year and, by the end of the school year, was well on its way to reaching its goal. Fundraising activities included a solicitation of nearby residents, pie sale and theme basket auction.

"Originally [the price] was $65,000," Sempert said. "We were about $2,800 away from our goal."

Then, last summer, the price jumped $10,000. So the committee is back at work. The equipment must be purchased by June 30, or the group will lose $42,000 in state grants.

It recently received a $1,000 community grant from the Wal-Mart Foundation.

The current economy aside, the task of raising money for playgrounds traditionally has fallen to the community.

"Each of the elementary school playgrounds [has] been funded by the PTA," said Don Feldmann, a spokesman for the Sweet Home School District. "It's been that way forever."

"We have been very blessed to have some great parent-teacher associations," Feldmann continued. "They are doing a yeoman's job in raising funds."

e-mail: jhabuda@buffnews.com

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