September 17, 2013 | 1 comment | 339 views
Playground named for Sandy Hook student
While most Island Park residents are still focused on recovering from Hurricane Sandy, there are some who are working towards a memorial playground for a young girl who died in another tragedy — the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Ct. last year.
The playground, which will be built at Masone Beach on Sept. 28 and 29 and dedicated sometime early next month, memorializes Caroline Previdi, 6, one of the 26 “angels” who were killed at the school.
“The program is run by Bill Lavin, who decided that he would “pay forward” all the help received by his community by building playgrounds in communities devastated by Sandy.
The playgrounds are funded by the communities themselves, with Island Park fundraising for the next playground, which is tentatively scheduled for Breezy Point, on the Rockaway, Queens peninsula. The Island park coordinators hope to raise the $7,000 necessary to build that playground. The money to build the Island Park playground came from a shore community in New Jersey.
Kathy Cleary is the local coordinator for the program.
“Caroline was a huge Yankee fan,” Cleary said this week. “She was also an avid swimmer, and it is fitting that this playground in Island Park be named in her honor.”
The playground will be built by a group of volunteers consisting of firefighters, police officers, teachers and other volunteers who will give their time and effort, Cleary said. On Sunday, there will be a clambake and barbeque for the volunteers, hosted by the Island Park community.
Cleary said that local businesses have really been helpful in raising the money. Recently, she said, Chris Motisi of the Ale House in Island Park were asked to raise $100, but raised $900 instead.
The playground in Island Park will be the first to be built in New York State, Cleary pointed out.