As more funds come in for an inclusive playground at the John A. Anderson Recreation Center, Mr. B’s Playground draws closer to a groundbreaking date. However, ground will not be broken until the village receives confirmation of a $500,000 grant from New York State, according to village spokeswoman Julie Scully.
The community has raised a total of $428,675 for Mr. B’s Playground, Scully said. Of that money, local organizations helped raise nearly $180,000, and Mayor Francis X. Murray helped raise $250,000.
In addition, more checks are to be presented soon, according to Lions Club member Maureen Jordan — one for $1,500 from RVC Blue Speaks and one for $1,160 from Molloy College.
A survey of the property is in the works, and permits will be awarded once the design for the playground is finalized, Scully said.
In anticipation of the groundbreaking, which could happen as early as this spring, Keith Gamache, wood shop teacher at South Side High School, is having students make a thermometer to track the community’s fundraising progress, to be displayed at the recreation center.
On April 4, the RVC Lions Club’s “Laughing With the Lions” fundraising event at Molloy College will donate proceeds to the playground, said Joan MacNaughton, co-chair of the Laughing with the Lions committee.
Soon, the Lions Club will begin to sell brick engravements and release a list of equipment that people can donate to and sponsor.
Mr. B’s Playground is to be named after longtime Recreation Superintendent Anthony Brunetta, known as Mr. B, who died in 2016. It will be accessible to children of all abilities and is slated to be built by the recreation center, in place of the tennis courts. The project should cost about $1.2 million, according to village officials.