LEWIS - A community effort to rejuvenate the town playground in Lewis is steadily climbing toward its goal.
The Town of Lewis Playground Committee has been working since January to raise funds for the purchase and installation of new equipment at the site, located at the corner of Route 9 and Osawentha Lane.
With about half the needed funds now raised, the committee is hoping to draw plenty of area residents to some upcoming events to benefit the project.
As Lewis town supervisor David Blades explained at the committee's first meeting, continual maintenance to keep the aging playground equipment safe was becoming troublesome.
"The Town Board agreed it should be improved," Blades said in January, "even to the point of saying 'improve the playground or do away with it.'"
The playground committee quickly formulated a plan to update the playground, creating separate areas for toddlers and older kids with new swings, slides, climbing walls, sand box and a two-table picnic pavilion, but the price tag totals about $30,000.
"For years, everybody has wanted something different at the playground that's going to appeal to kids of all ages," said Dina Garvey, chair of the playground committee. "It's really going to be something I think everyone in the town is going to benefit from."
The town already had more than $7,200 set aside in a dedicated Parks and Recreation fund, and a $1,000 grant was awarded from the Stewart's Shops Holiday Match program. Still, the committee was going to have to rely on donations and other grants to make their plan a reality.
Most recently, the Lewis Fire Department donated $1,676 to the project, it's share of the proceeds of their annual Fish Fry fundraiser at the Wooden Nickel. Adding in donations from other local businesses and organizations, the committee has accumulated nearly $15,000.
"We're hoping to raise the other $15,000 we need and hopefully have the playground completed for August," said Garvey.
The next big fundraiser for the project takes place May 16 when the Lewis Fish and Game Club will host a chicken barbecue.
The event will feature a raffle with several items donated by local businesses. Among the top prizes is a package featuring two round-trip plane tickets from Plattsburgh to Boston, and two tickets to see a Boston Red Sox game.
A June 5 Playground Carnival Day is also being planned to take place behind the Lewis Town Hall, which will feature food vendors, kids' rides, Penelope the Clown, and a performance by E-town Express.
"Both Dave Blades and [Elizabethtown supervisor] Noel Merrihew have volunteered to be in our dunking booth," said Garvey.
For more information about these events, including how to volunteer or donate to the playground project, contact Dina Garvey at 873-2073 or the Lewis Town Hall at 873-6777.