Although the land across from Highview Elementary sits bare, many community members are not letting it get them down. At the first playground Steering committee meeting, everyone came excited with ideas and general committees were picked out along with a framework of how to start the entire process.
Everything is still tentative and may possibly change since planning only started earlier this week, but here's a rough outline of some of the ideas that came out of the first two-hour meeting of the playground's steering committee. A possible name of the new playground is the Highview Community Playground.
"This is well beyond Nanuet," said Don Franchino, who's chairing the fundraising committee. "This is going to be county-wide. As we saw from the people who came to the Board of Education meeting, people came from all over."
There are right now seven committees other than steering. There may be changes to the responsibilities of each general committee and the number—additions or consolidations—depending on need and/or future plans:
- Fundraising will come up with the ideas for fundraising events, getting donations and grants
- Finance will keep the books tracking all incoming and outgoing funds
- Events will execute the fundraising ideas
- Volunteer will recruit and coordinate people. For example, if an event needs extra volunteers, this committee finds and sends people to cover the event
- Public Relations will head communications and advertise the fundraising events
- Children's will contact Principals Elizabeth Smith and Barbara Auriemma on how to get the children involved
The steering committee will meet once more before the holidays and there will probably be a general public meeting set in January, in which everyone in the community can come, contribute and join the general committees.
Steering still has a few unanswered questions and there will be experts at the next meeting to help address these questions; as a result, Steering will be more prepared at the first general public meeting. Right now the steering committee is working on a website, social media and a sign for in front of the playground.
"I know we're in the age of social media … I work with a lot of non-profits and they talk about the status of what they're doing," said Moria Balseca, chair of the events committee. "It reaches not just their community but also the outside communities."
Franchino said that he's looking into making the playground project tax deductible and getting state grants with help from elected officials.
"There are many facets to the fundraising and there has to be," said Franchino. "(The fundraising committee) That's going to probably be one of your largest committees."
As for fundraising ideas that were put on the table, steering mentioned the possibility of a 5k, Vegas night, selling engraved bricks to be put in the playground's walkway and many more. Alumni that helped build the first playground have also expressed interest in helping out with this new playground. All these ideas will be given to the fundraising committee to decide on when it starts brainstorming.
Although the Design committee will discuss and decide on the specifics, steering agreed that the new playground needs to be unique and factor in other children, not just regular elementary-age kids.
"There are children with special needs and younger kids too that we have to keep in mind," said Balseca.
"It's going to be important that it's not a regular plastic playground and buy these things from Fisher Price or Little Tykes," said Franchino. "It needs to be unique, different from any other playground. That's what attracted people countywide."
However, this design committee will have a big task in that they need to factor in fire and police requirements and consult with the school board on design plans. Insurance and liabilities were important subjects during the first steering meeting. Several companies have already come forward offering material donations.
"We looked at a few corporations that want to get involved, have or want to make donations and want to lend their expertise," said Franchino.
The first steering meeting was mostly to put all issues, concerns and ideas on the table to sort through. Now that everything's sorted, the only thing that is somewhat set are the seven general committees. After the next steering committee meeting, experts will be present to help steering solidify a few more ideas to bring to the general public meeting in January.
Check Nanuet Patch mid-December for an update after the second steering meeting and contact NanuetPlayground@yahoo.com with the following information if you want to help out one of the general committees:
- Name: Last, First
- Preferred general committee you'd like to join
- Skills/expertise/knowledge you can offer (if possible)
- Main phone number
- Alternate phone number (if possible)
Please check the previous four articles for more information about the old and new playgound.