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Latrobe park's Playland prep work to start

| Friday, April 19, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Workers are expected to begin boring about 200 holes and setting equipment poles in concrete on Friday at Latrobe's Legion Keener Park, so they will be in place when volunteers begin rebuilding the Playland playground on Monday, recreation officials said.

Employees of J.J. Hauser & Sons Inc. of Unity will perform the preparation work, said Bruce Jones, a member of the Latrobe-Unity Parks & Recreation Commission. Jones anticipated that it will take more than 40 yards of concrete to set the poles in place.

Volunteers have signed up for double shifts beginning Monday and continuing through April 28, when the commission plans to hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 6 p.m. to mark the anticipated completion of the new playground.

Meals for volunteers have been donated by area churches and restaurants, as well as construction tools and equipment that will be needed to do the job.

More than 1,000 people have volunteered to help with the project, said Jeanne Ashley, recreation commission executive director.

“The gun's already gone off,” for the start of the project, Ashley said.

The original Playland, built by local volunteers in 1992, was damaged in an unsolved arson in June 2012. It reopened about a week after the fire but was later torn down in preparation for the new playground.

The commission decided last summer that it should be rebuilt to meet modern standards and sought suggestions from Latrobe-area youngsters on the redesign.

“It's virtually an entire new area and new design,” Ashley said.

Instead of using treated wood as had been done 21 years ago, the new Playland will be built mostly of composite materials.

The parks and recreation commission has raised about $150,000 to pay for the project.

Ashley said the commission still wants to collect an additional $10,000 to $15,000 to cover the costs of security cameras and lighting.

The plan is to place lights and high-quality security cameras atop poles to make the area safer.

Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-5252 or jnapsha@tribweb.com.

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