After two years of fundraising, the Home and School Association serving the Brooklyn District Elementary School is celebrating the completion of an accessible pathways project undertaken with playground users in mind.
Tanya Leopold, the association’s chairperson, says fundraising for the collaborative project began when the association learned the gravel paths leading to the school’s playgrounds were not user friendly.
In response to hearing that the gravel pathways were often slippery or uneven, making it difficult for some people to get to the play areas, the home and school group vowed to see to it that the paths were paved.
“Gravel is just not an ideal medium for somebody who has mobility issues,” Leopold said in an interview.
The non-profit group used money raised at school events and a grant secured through the Municipality of the District of West Hants to pay for the pathways to be paved Dec. 3.
“It was a project that we decided to take on because it involves more than just the student population at the school. These are public grounds that are used by anyone in the community,” Leopold said.
She says the volunteer group is thrilled people of all ages will benefit from the accessible pathways.
“Accessibility affects everyone,” the Union Corner resident said.
“It affects mothers who are trying to push strollers, it affects grandparents that are accompanying their grandkids, it affects me, who might not have wore the right shoes to the playground.”
Leopold said the project cost about $12,000. She says Robin Lowthers, of R.H. Lowthers Excavating, played a big role in keeping the project costs as low as possible.
“He regularly contributes to our projects. He lives right here in the community, he knows the kind of benefits that a community will reap from it and he agrees to help. He never needs to know what’s involved or what will come back to him.”
Leopold says Dexter Construction pulled through when the time came for the paths to be paved.
“It was difficult for us to find a paving company who would agree to send out equipment for a project this small.”
Principal Brenda Newcombe says the asphalt pathways have eliminated barriers that once prevented some BDES students with varying abilities from using the accessible swings on the playground.
“It’s pretty exciting for us because we thought it was going to take a lot of years to raise that money,” she said.
“They can now get to their swing and get in the swing easier whereas before two people would carry them, or they could see the swing and there’d be a day we couldn’t get them there because… the gravel was slippery,” she continued.
“Now kids are able to get on the path and get right to their swings and it’s great.”