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New playground at St. Joseph School

MILLBROOK — At St. Joseph School playtime has become more fun than ever, thanks to the efforts of parents and the school. This past summer a new playground was built for the students of the school, located at 25 St. Joseph Drive in the village of Millbrook. Thanks to $20,000 in donations, students are now able to play in the playground to their hearts’ content. The new playground replaced the old equipment, much of which was 50 years old. The process began a year ago through the efforts of the St. Joseph School Playground Committee. Members of the committee consisted of Cristina Bleakley, Rich Rennia, Dawn Hew and Dan Connolly — all parents who have children in the school. The committee started by collecting funds for the project. Bleakley said they received a wealth of donations from parents as well as businesses and individuals throughout the community. In addition to financial support, the playground committee was also provided with contributions of material and labor.“We had two main donors who contributed a lot and this project could not have been done without them,” said Bleakley. “A friend of mine, Donald Flood II, the owner of Kect Construction in Patterson, N.Y., provided the heavy equipment to prepare the land for the new site. Dawn Hew’s husband, Stephen Hew of SJH Landscape and Management, was another major contributor. We couldn’t have done the deed without a lot of his help. So it was a collaboration.” There will be a ribbon cutting to celebrate the playground on Oct. 1, with a brunch at 11 a.m.; all parents and donors are invited to attend and see the finished product. Bleakley said that it was a long process, but it was all worth it for the students.“It was very exciting to see the kids in the beginning of the year,” said Bleakley. “When they saw it they realized that it was so beautiful. It was just really rewarding to see their reactions.”The playground committee slogan for the project was “Together we can.” Bleakley said the playground committee hopes donors will come to the ribbon cutting to see what has been accomplished since so many different people contributed in a variety of ways. She added the new playground would benefit the school and the community.“Kids just enjoy the exercise and the fun and I think it’s imperative to have a playground at the school,” said Bleakley. “In Millbrook I think it brings awareness to the community that we are here and we are thriving. We help the community and the community helps us.”

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