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News: Saco Parks & Recreation Department Playground Committee Information

Date Published Author
5/31/2011 12:00:00 AM  John Sherman 

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Mission Statement: To build and foster community awareness and understanding on the importance of unstructured play in the development of today’s children and how essential playgrounds are for a healthy and vibrant community. As Darrell Hammond (Founder of KaBOOM!) commented: "There is a Play Deficit in our country and it is harming our children. Our children are playing less than any previous generation, and research clearly shows this lack of play is producing profound physical, intellectual, social and emotional problems for today's kids. We can save play so our children can be fitter, smarter, happier and healthier.”

C.K. Burns School Build Day: October 5, 2013
Thank you to all the volunteers who helped to make the Memorial Playground Build Day a success!  Over 50 volunteers - parents, teachers, PTO members, committee members, and Saco Parks and Recreation staff - assembled to install the new playground equipment at CK Burns School.  Special thank you to Michael Parody of Playworld Systems for overseeing the installation, and also to the CK Burns PTO, parents, and Dunkin Donuts of Saco for donating food and beverages to keep our volunteers going throughout the day.

Please click here to visit us on Facebook for a photo gallery from Build Day

From the Sun Chronicle: Workday First, then Play at C.K. Burns School
From the Journal Tribune: Volunteers Install New Playground at Burns

Saco was named a 2014 Playful City USA Community for the fourth year in a row! by non-profit KaBOOM!. Saco was one of only 212 communities across the U.S. and the first community in Maine to earn this wonderful designation. Learn more about what makes our city so playful and check out the entire list of cities! Playful City USA 2014 Recognized Cities The City of Saco is now eligible for a number of nationwide playground grants that are only available to Playful City Communities.

Playground Steering Committee
Chair: Samantha Johnson
Vice-Chair: Erika Dube
Business Representative: Jeanette Garvilles
Municipal Representative: John Sherman
Members at Large: Jeff Fournier, Sandy Mekonis, Heidi Pare, Stephanie Wagner, one vacancy.

Saco Playground Committee in the News Click on the links below to recent news articles about the playground committee and the work we are doing to improve Saco's playgrounds!
Young School playground debuts to raves
Emotional Build in Saco Brings Community Closer Playground Build Day Set
Sun Chronicle - Saco play area to honor cancer victim Sun Chronicle - Popular Saco playground in for makeover
Way To Go Saco Maine! Communities That Work Together Get Results!
Courier - Saco, a ‘Playful City,’ to get new playground
YouTube - TA TV features our project to replace the Young School playground

Find More Information:

The Eleanor Clare Paye Playground Story In the spring of 2011, the Saco Playground Committee was formed to address the needs for playground replacement and preservation in Saco. After an in-depth audit of all Saco’s play areas, it was determined the first project would focus on replacing the wooden play structures at Young School. To garner attention for the work of this new committee, the Saco Playground Committee hosted its first Play Day event in October 2011 in conjunction with Saco Spirit’s Harvest Festival. We enjoyed celebrating Saco's first year recognition as a "Playful City USA" city with everyone! Play Day 2011 Flyer

In November 2011, the Young School Playground Project received one of five $15,000 national Let’s Play grants courtesy of the non-profit KaBOOM!, Let’s Play and the Dr Pepper Snapple Group. This process was truly inspiring as the Saco community came together and not only earned our project one of the five national grants, but received the most votes overall in the Facebook voting contest to decide the grant recipients, beating out large cities such as Atlanta, Georgia and Honolulu, Hawaii. Click here for the official grant announcement: Playground Grant Award Announcement

Throughout the winter and into spring of 2012, the committee continued its fundraising efforts. We received the support of many local businesses and civic organizations; please see a list of our sponsors below. After being approached by the Eleanor Clare Paye Charitable Fund to discuss a donation, the committee unanimously voted to dedicate this playground project to Elle, a young Saco resident who had recently lost her battle to cancer.

Using KaBOOM!'s Community Build Model, the Saco Playground Committee hosted its first Build Day event in October of 2012, inviting community volunteers to help install the new playground equipment at Young School. On a beautiful autumn day, this new playground was built with the help of over 100 members of the community, supervised by playground representative Mike Parody of UltiPlay Parks and Playgrounds. The Eleanor Clare Paye Memorial Playground was installed on October 13th and dedicated on October 15th, 2012.

The Saco Playground Committee would like to thank all of the volunteers, donors, KaBOOM!, Let's Play, and the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group who helped to make this playground project happen. We couldn't have done this without your support!

Special thanks to our sponsors for the Eleanor Clare Paye Playground and Build Day 2012:
The Eleanor Clare Paye Charitable Fund
Saco and Biddeford Savings Institution
General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products
Young School PTO
Biddeford and Saco Rotary Club
C.K. Burns School PTO
Saco Bay Rotary Club
Ann Harris Insurance Agency
PeoplesChoice Credit Union
Island Time Tanning
Priest Property Management
Dawson, Smith, Purvis, and Bassett, P.A.
China House
Panera Bread
Pizza Plus
Poland Spring
National Distributors