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Houlton Elementary looks to replace aging playground

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Outside Houlton Elementary School, nestled between some trees, lies a connection between generations — the school’s playground.

Already on its second life — the playground's previous residence was North Hudson Elementary — the structure is showing its age after spending more than 30 years at its current site.

“Right now, it's just becoming more of a safety issue, you know, things are starting to break on it and things are starting to need to come down,” said Houlton Elementary teacher Tracy Wolfe. At this point, Wolfe continued, many parts of the playground can't be repaired.

Most concerning, however, is that the structure isn't accessible for anyone with a disability, Wolfe said.

For those reasons, among others, Houlton Elementary has set a goal of raising a minimum of $50,000 to replace the aging structure.

“We're trying to provide an environment where truly everyone can use it,” said Dana Cahoon, member of the Playground Committee. “We're really trying to expand the perspective of what a playground can and should do to allow for all students to play.”

The committee began the year with a Butter Braid sale, which raised nearly $4,800, Cahoon said. The gofundme page shows a total of more than $5,000 as of Tuesday afternoon.

There are other fundraisers planned, such as selling personalized bricks for a path and a Culver's night, but the biggest fundraiser of the year is right around the corner — the Houlton Bazaar Nov. 12.

Most years, Wolfe said, it's their only fundraiser, but with their goal of a new playground come spring, they needed to broaden their scope.

“Our goal is to have the old systems removed around spring break and then do a community build of the playground,” Cahoon said, adding it will be a supervised build. The build typically takes a couple days, she said.

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John R. Russett

John Russett is a regional reporter for RiverTown Multimedia, covering a variety of issues facing RiverTown communities. Previously, he worked at the Red Wing Republican Eagle, where he reported on education as well as crime and courts. 

You can follow him on Twitter at @JohnRyanRussett


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