Doing Good for the Neighborhood: Project Playground in New Hartford

NEW HARTFORD — Project Playground was started two years ago by the New Hartford PTO to build new playgrounds at both Bakerville School and New Hartford Elementary School.
For years, children at both schools had to play on very dilapidated equipment, with the equipment at Bakerville so old that it’s not even ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant.
The goal of the group of residents and volunteers was to raise $160,000 for the new playgrounds.
Two years and many fundraisers later, Project Playground is close to its goal and plans are going forward to build the new playgrounds starting in mid-June.
In the final stretch of its fundraising efforts, Project Playground will be holding a “duck race” on Saturday, April 24 at the Hurley Business Park on Greenwoods Road at 11 a.m.
“Ducks” are available in advance up to the day of the race for $5 each.
Prizes include: a police car ride to school for a child and their two friends, a firetruck ride to school for a child and their three friends, and four VIP passes to SeaQuest in Trumbull.
In an interview with The Winsted Phoenix, group member Heather Riera said that the event will be the next to last fundraiser for the group.
“There will be one more fundraiser at a later date, but after that, it should be it,” Riera said. “We are ready to go with building new playgrounds. We have almost all of our money accounted for, except for some grants that we are waiting for to come in.”
Riera said that New Hartford Elementary School will now have two separate playgrounds, with one for preschool children and a second one for Kindergarten through 2nd-grade students.
“We never thought we would have been able to raise $160,000 in a short amount of time, but our community is just incredible,” Riera said. “We have parents and people who don’t even have children in school who have helped out. First Selectman Daniel Jerram has been a wonderful resource for us and it has just been an amazing community effort.
For more information about both Project Playground and its upcoming Duck Race event go to

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