OSWEGO, NY – Several Oswego DPW workers and dozens of Novelis employees gave up their Saturday to help rebuild the playground in Washington Square (East Park).
“More than 40 volunteers pitched in from around 9 a.m. to noon,” said Sixth Ward Councilor Eric VanBuren. “About half that number is working the afternoon shift. We really appreciate their help.”
Theresa Shutt was one of the volunteers from Novelis.
“I really enjoy helping out,” she said as she dumped a wheelbarrow full of wood chips on the playground area. “This is going to be a nice playground once we get done with it.”
Eloisa Orta enjoyed trying out some of the new playground equipment during a break in the construction.
The east side youth climbed on one of the spinning cups and then took a turn on the teeter-totter with Amy L. Birdsall, the city’s Zoning and Planning Director, on the other side.
“We’re going to use two truckloads of wood chips,” VanBuren said gesturing to the huge pile southeast corner of the playground area. “That’s one truckload and we’ll probably use it all up in a little while. The second batch will be for whatever we need to finish on what we’re doing today and then go under the swings area.”
“There were about 40 of us here this morning. Things tapered off around 11:30 to noon. What we’re looking to do this afternoon is fill in the rest of the wood chips here. We have to grade it eight inches worth of wood chips,” he continued. “And then, the mulch is going to go on the three new flower beds around the equipment and along the sidewalk.”
“The playground is 4,000 square feet total,” according to Birdsall. “The area we’re working on right now is about 2,400 square feet. Besides the flowers we have some new trees and a couple of new benches that are coming. We got a lot done this morning. Best volunteers ever!”
Chris Virgil-Stone was one of the many Novelis volunteers Saturday afternoon.
“It what employees at Novelis do,” he said of volunteering. “We want to give back to the community. Last year, they volunteered to assist Habitat for Humanity. And they planted trees in another park. We’re glad to help out the city and the kids.”
The playground equipment along with the safety feature is being provided through Kompan, a company that deals with playground equipment, Birdsall noted.
“The wood chips are specially engineered for playgrounds. They lay flat and sort of ‘basket weave’ together better than your average wood chips would. It provides better safety at playgrounds,” she explained. “This is so great. I met a couple of young girls walking through the park while I’ve been working here and they’re so excited to get a new playground built.”
“It’s going to look really nice when it’s done,” VanBuren said. “It’s a big change; a big change from what it was.”
“It looks nice now,” Eloisa exclaimed. “It’s fun! I want to come back again and play some more!”