Newton Falls – The City Park of the small town was invaded by quacks in the name of charity on Saturday as community members gathered at the crossroads of Center and Quarry Streets to support a good cause. Dozens of brightly-colored plastic creatures converged on the grassy corner area near the tennis and basketball courts, finding themselves temporarily dry-docked while a gaggle of children plucked the neon ducks from the invisible “water” under the pavilion.

Soon those children will have the opportunity for more than just duck-plucking at the park, as the reason for the late August activity was to add drops in the fundraising bucket being filled for a future playground on that very lawn. Behind the duck drop, a mock-up board proudly displayed the vision for the new facility which will be handicapped-accessible and features attractions that are not only durable for years of enjoyment but also intriguing, with surprise educational elements such as a ceiling of constellations found under a creative crawlspace. Made possible by a partnership with KaBoom! grants, the play area is expected to break ground in the next month or so and is definitely considered [to be] a community project, not only because the extra funds needed are being contributed by caring residents through various fundraising opportunities, but also in that the playground itself will be built by volunteers physically putting the pieces together to make it truly a hands-on effort.

Though the city received the Let’s Play Community Construction grant for $15,000, the final cost of the playground equipment is $24,000 so the community has been working hard to raise $9,000 to complete its goal for the local children. With over 250 pluck-a-ducks purchased for the weekend’s FUNdraising festivities, which included cash prizes for six lucky duck-holders, the organizing committee is one step, er, waddle, closer to seeing the vision turn into reality.

For those who were unable to stop by the Pluck-a-Duck event and would like to help bring this family-friendly facility to fruition, monetary donations are  being gratefully accepted for the playground project. Please visit the City of Newton Falls facebook page for more information or call Ashley Grunder, Parks & Recreation Director, at (330) 872-5261 to find out how you can help.

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In addition to her role as a contributing reporter for the Weekly Villager, Mialie T. Szymanski is the creator of the bi-weekly column “Puppy Tails”. This children’s story time column stars Doodle Dog, a floppy-eared puppy who has an optimistic perspective of the world around him. Szymanski’s picture book “Doodle Dog Enjoys the Day” chronicles a day in the life of this “paws”itive pup. The upcoming
read-aloud anthology “Puppy Tails: Adventures of Doodle Dog” is a collection of the columns and
illustrations as seen in The Weekly Villager over the last year.