Volunteers Joe Francesco, left, Aaron LeClere, Rob Griffis and Sky LeClere work to reopen the damaged Beach Lake playground last May.

Community playground beyond repair

BEACH LAKE, PA — The community playground located behind the Beach Lake United Methodist Church (BLUMC) has been open since 1989. BLUMC preschool director Tammy Thuman said, “It has become not just a meeting place for the community, but an option for gross motor development within the program and beyond. It is not fenced in, so that all children can enjoy it.”

Three decades is a long time that caused some wear and tear, but the tornado that hit the area last year had a detrimental impact of its own. According to a press release, “With the exception of the rock wall, the [playground’s] newest piece, high winds and falling debris damaged the big slide and other major components of the structure.”

Several members of the community pitched in to salvage what they could as a temporary fix. “We were able to eliminate parts and repurpose others to fix certain sections, but a new structure is truly needed. We are out of repair options at this point,” said Joe Francesco, one of the volunteers.

“The children were so disappointed when the tree came down and took out part of the structure,” added Tammy Lyons, head preschool teacher.

Playground equipment has evolved noticeably in the last 30 years, so replacement parts are no longer available. Costs for new equipment have increased drastically, so a committee was formed to begin fundraising. A new play-set, “Double Treble,” manufactured by BYO was selected. So far, donations have raised a little over $17,000. “This is a great start, but $40,000 is needed to make it a reality, and this is where we need the community’s help,” said Aaron LeClere, committee spokesperson. “This is the only publicly open playground for our children to use, a free, safe place for families to meet, play and enjoy the outdoors.”

A Memorial Day rummage sale and other fundraisers are in the works. If anyone would like more information on how to help restore the Beach Lake playground, contact Aaron LeClere at 570/729-1054.

 

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