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New playground open for play at First Methodist

The First United Methodist Church of Thomson has a new playground. And the children agree it has all the right amenities.

"I think the yellow climbing things are the best," said five-year-old Shay Carter. "I like to climb up them, and I like to climb up the slides, also."

Her classmate thinks the slides are more fun when used the way they were intended. David Evans said the two slides on the new equipment is a big improvement over the old equipment, which had only one slide.

"But the big one gets wet on wainy days," the four-year-old said. "So I don't like the big one when it's waining. ... And sometimes I slide on my back. And I go fast, and I fall on my bottom and that makes me get cwazy."

Beth Reville, the director of the church daycare, said the old, wooden playground equipment was 12 years old, they were constantly needing replacement parts and the children were getting splinters.

The new equipment is brightly colored plastic surrounded by a rubber mulch that prevents injury if a child falls. There are two playgrounds: one for the one and two-year-olds, and the larger one is for ages three and older. Both sets are a fort-style layout with roofed platforms, tunnel connectors and climbing walls. The larger version also has various styles of climbing ladders and a sliding pole.

"They love it," Ms. Reville said. "Every day they are asking 'when can we get to go play?' Where as before, if it was cold outside, they didn't want to go out. And now, they don't care, they just want to go play."

The church formed a committee approximately a year ago to work on getting the new playground. Ms. Reville said the United Methodist Women helped, Scott Blevins did research and shopped around for the best price, Bill Borresen helped with the construction, and MSF Grading cleared the ground.

"We just want to thank all the people who supported us and helped," Ms. Reville said. "Those who donated money and time."

Various fund raisers throughout the year included a rummage sale, a build-a-bear workshop and a parents night out. Ms. Reville said the children at the church preschool and daycare kept up with the progress of the construction of the new playground by watching out the windows every day. As it became finished, she said their excitement grew. "But we had to hold them back," she said, until the ribbon cutting, which took place on a recent Wednesday evening right before the mid-week church service.

"I'm delighted to be a part of a church that has vision in the community and works to provide a playground that will be used by not only our children, but those in the community," Rev. Tom Kerr said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

"If you gave a penny, if you gave a dollar, look what you've done. Thank you," Preschool director Dawn Powell said to the crowd.

Web posted on Thursday, February 21, 2008

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