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Dryden PTO begins drive for new playground

By Debbie Gardner

PRIME Editor

SPRINGFIELD A steady stream of cars pulled up the drive to Mary A. Dryden Memorial Elementary School on Saturday morning, Nov. 11.

Even before most drivers could put their vehicles in park, a friendly face or two was standing by the trunk, ready to unload their cache of plastic and aluminum.

One man's trash was another's gold for the members of Dryden's PTO, who spent that Veteran's Day morning collecting bottles and cans to raise money toward the purchase of new playground equipment for their neighborhood public school.

By the time the recycling truck left Dryden at 12:30 p.m., the PTO had $765 in their coffers.

"We just formed the playground committee at the beginning of this year. We'd love to have the playground up by the spring of 2008," said Barbara Footit, one of the PTO volunteers who was working the collection, and monitoring a small bake sale.

Footit told Reminder Publications that Dryden's previous playground equipment was recently declared unsafe by school officials. It was torn down earlier this year.

According to Lee Weissman, a Dryden PTO volunteer and owner of Gus & Paul's Bakery, Bagels & Deli, downtown Springfield, the playground committee needs to raise $50,000 to purchase the proposed playground equipment.

He said that the PTO is planning to host fund-raising events every month in the hopes of reaching their goal by the spring of 2008.

Dryden PTO President Sarah Damsereau noted the poor condition of the playground at Nathan Bill, the neighborhood's public park, and emphasized the accessibility of the proposed new playground to both Dryden students and neighborhood children.

"At a time when we're trying to keep kids active, we need a place where these 300 students can be active and have some down time," Damsereau said. "And this will be a great place for the whole community to have access to a safe place to play."

Anyone wishing to make a donation to the playground fund can send a check, made payable to Springfield School volunteers, to the Dryden PTO, c/o Mary A. Dryden Memorial Elementary School, 190 Surrey Road., Springfield, MA 01118.