A representative of Burke Playground Equipment of Cincinnati attended a recent Bethesda Park Board meeting, at which members approved a design for a new playground at the village park.

The previous playground equipment was removed in May of 2008 due to safety issues. The equipment was over 50 years old and its removal was recommended by the vilalge's insurance inspector.

The new, ADA accepted, wheelchair accessible eqipment, will cover 3,092 square feet. The dimensions of the playground are 104 feet eight inches by 92 feet 11 inches. The playground will have three seperate play areas for chilren ags up to three, two to five and five to 12.

Village Administrator TimZdanski said he submitted the village state purchasing number to A.C. Weithe for the purchase of the playground equipment, allowing the village to buy the playground without going through a bidding process. He said the village has been working with Burke for over a year and that the company was a member of the state minumum purchasing programthat guranteees the village the lowest possible price.

The playground will cost 59,000 dollars. Zdanski said if the supervised installation by prisoners is approved, it would reduce the cost by $5,300. He noted that the installation will be supervised by a Burke representative.

Zdanski said the majority of the meony is already available from a $426,00 Community Development Block Grant.

Park Board Commmissioner Judy Jenewein said fundraising efforts are ongoing to bridge the gap bewtween the grant and the cost. She said a previous playground committee raised $1,900 two or three years ago. Other fundraisers include a raffle and an upcoming Ham Bingo on May 2 at the Centerville Senior Citizens Center.

Jenewein said a target date of May 18 has been set for the playground installation.

She said the Park Board was established in June of 2008 by the Bethesda Village Council. Members were appoined by the probate court judge as commissioners.

She said the playground has been the main focus of the board, however, they have other plans for the park including the reestablishment of the walking trail.

"The park has always been one of my pet projects" said Jenewein, who served as Bethesda's mayor for many years. "Recreation for children and adults is very important."

She said there have been many challenges with the park over the years, but pointed to the addition of a shelter, bathrooms, parking lot, basketball courts, playground fence and volleyball courts.

"The village has been very good to work with," Jenewein said. "Everyone is working together for the common good. The residents have been very supportive."

For more information about the park board, the playground for upcoming fundraisers, contact Jenewein or commissioners Frank Saunders or Diana Flanagan.