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Work progresses on playground

February 14, 2007

WILLIAMSPORT - Despite the less-than-favorable weather for outdoor construction, installation of new park equipment at Byron Memorial Park is under way.

According to Councilman Jeff Cline, installation should be completed by the end of the month.

Meanwhile, the efforts by Cline and Mayor James G. McCleaf II to obtain grant money for playground equipment were the subject of a story in the February newsletter of the Maryland Governor's Grants Office.

The two men attended a local government grants conference last winter. Cline said the Town of Williamsport had never before applied for a grant but with lessons learned at the conference, and using a "Team Williamsport" approach, the town was able to secure funds to make a town playground more suitable for all children to enjoy.

The heading on the e-mail copy of the newsletter said "The Town of Williamsport Knows the Way It's Done."

Cline, who chairs the town parks committee, said one day last summer he visited Byron Memorial Park and noticed a child in a wheelchair.

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Because the play equipment was not accessible to the boy, he was forced to merely watch his siblings enjoying the swings and other facilities.

Wanting to know what they could do, Cline and McCleaf contacted Jim Sterling, director of Washington County Parks, who suggested talking to MIHI (Many Individuals Helping Individuals), along with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, which has a community parks and playground grants program.

Before submitting the grant application, Cline negotiated the cost of the playground equipment below the originally quoted price, and secured a donation from MIHI of $3,000, along with additional donations of $12,800 from area businesses and citizens.

The Town of Williamsport added $1,400 from its budget to a grant of $60,000 recently approved by the DNR.

Cline said swings and other equipment are being installed this month near Pavilion 2.

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