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Woodsdale Elementary Lets Play 5K Canceled for Second Year Due to COVID-19 Concerns

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For the second consecutive year, there will not be a run through Woodsdale to benefit the Woodsdale Elementary School playground.

The school has again canceled its Let’s Play 5K run through the neighborhood that happens in the spring due to COVID concerns, but it is likely to return next year to raise money for the playground’s maintenance, according to Principal Ashlea Minch.

Work to build the playground is now complete, and there isn’t a need for additional fundraising at this time, she said.

“No we don’t (have to fundraise),” she said. “We are complete, but the run will be continued for our maintenance fund. We hope to get it up and be running next year.”

Students first began playing on the revamped playground in October 2018, while additional work was still being completed. The final phase, the painting of lines on the playground’s asphalt, was completed during the summer of 2020, according to Minch.

The first “Let’s Play 5K” took place in May 2017, with runners a fee for participating. Students even got involved in the fundraising, organizing lemonade stands on weekends throughout the neighborhood to raise money.

The city of Wheeling donated $10,000 toward the playground project, and the contribution established a partnership that was to keep the gates to the playground open to the public outside school hours.

Over time the school raised $250,000 for construction of the playground, which included asphalt, fencing and landscaping, and the placement of rubberized matting, monkey bars and slides. Students also have a shaded area with tables and seating on the playground that can be used as an outdoor classroom.

Donors will be honored after this school year is complete with a ceremony and a plaque, according to Minch.

“We hope to have a celebration for donors in June,” she said. “We would like to have it in person.”

The playground has become a popular attraction, both with students and the community, Minch said.

“The students love it, especially after being doors during the winter,” she said. “They do well taking care of it.”

She reports there hasn’t been any signs of vandalism at the playground, even though the area is open to the public in the evenings.

“It’s packed in the evenings,” Minch said. “The community uses the playground, as well, and that makes us happy.”

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