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City responds to playground renovation request

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Lebanon Mayor Philip Craighead agreed that it is up to the city to ensure the Lebanon Community Playground at Don Fox Park is maintained for future generations.

The subject was broached last week by attorney Mark Lee, who was one of the visionaries behind the playground in the mid-90s.

It was Lee who established Playground Inc. non-profit and with the help of Susan Lee, Sue Vanatta and a core committee, raised $185,000 for the project.

A volunteer work day was coordinated in 2010, and the remaining funds were used to restore the playground to like-new condition. "We hired the original architect out of New York to come to Lebanon and help us," Lee explained.

However, in 2016, the private funds are gone and Playground, Inc. has dissolved - leaving many to raise the questions of "Who is supposed to be caring for the playground?" and "Is this iconic structure worth saving?"

"The land is ours. It is up to the city to continue to make sure it is safe for the kids and maintained," stated Craighead on Monday. "My wife and I walked through it on Sunday. There were repairs I had seen earlier, but there is still improvements that can be made."

Craighead, who has a background in construction, assisted in the build back in 1995. He said his children also enjoyed the park for many years.

"It has a lot of memories. I know that there are ways to incorporate improvements and still retain the history," he said, noting that our playground at Don Fox has survived longer than many other wood-fortresses built during that time. "It needs an overall painting."

Another issue to look into is the woodchips which surround the playground. Craighead is interested to learn more about what other kinds of flooring-materials could make the playground safer.

"Any contributions are always welcomed," Craighead said. "We might end up having some dollars from the city and then having a work day, I don't know yet. We need to decide what improvements need to be made and if we are better off with volunteers or hiring someone."

Staff Writer Sabrina Garrett may be contacted at

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