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Rotarians help build special playground


They gathered around 7 a.m. yesterday at the park at Westminster Community Pond to build some fun.

And by early afternoon when they were almost finished, 11-year-old Kevin Strevig, who lives on Sullivan Road behind the park, was pleased.

"It's really cool," he said of the new handicapped-accessible playground equipment.

About 20 members of Carroll's four Rotary Clubs, staffers from the county Department of Recreation and Parks and county maintenance workers helped assemble the equipment and spread a nine-inch deep layer of mulch around it.

"This is for handicapped kids and their friends to come here, and everybody can have a good time," said Chuck Shacochis of Eldersburg, a

member of the Sykesville-South Carroll Rotary Club.

The Rotary clubs donated $5,000 to help the county pay for the equipment, said John Little, county Recreation and Parks Director.

The whole project cost about $20,000.

The playground area measures 52 feet by 52 feet. The tan-and-green equipment has ramps on both sides and includes several slides and mirrors, a large tic-tac-toe game, a bridge and PTC a tire swing.

Supporters of the project have worked for about 18 months to see it through, said Barbara Gundina, a county therapeutic recreational specialist.

Money for the equipment was cut from the county budget last year, she said.

But the Rotarians, armed with a petition signed by 100 supporters, convinced the county commissioners to reconsider, Mr. Shacochis said.

Rotary clubs from Hampstead, Mount Airy and Westminster also contributed to the project, he said.

The county's Therapeutic Recreation Council got the idea to build a playground accessible to handicapped children after a grandmother made it known that her grandson, who used a wheelchair, couldn't play at any Westminster playgrounds, Ms. Gundina said.

The boy, Wade Jenkins, a student at Robert Moton Elementary, will be at the dedication ceremony for the equipment at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, she said. Ms. Wheelchair Maryland for 1992-93, Janice Jackson of Baltimore, also will participate in the ceremony, Ms. Gundina said.

The Therapeutic Recreation Council researched handicapped-accessible playground equipment with help from member Dennis Bozzell, who uses a wheelchair, she said. Mr. Bozzell tried out equipment in several counties, she said.

Don Hiltner, community services chairman for the Westminster Rotary, said he expects children from all over the county to use the equipment.

"It's a nice central location."

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which opened a store in Westminster yesterday, also donated $350 for the playground's landscaping, Ms. Gundina said.

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