Dad celebrates new playground

Councilman Gerald Canton, left, celebrates with Randy Glorioso, his son Ryan, 9, and daughter Anna, 6, who presented a check from the Chagrin Falls Dads’ Club to help support a playground planned for South Russell. Ryan and Anna both attend Gurney Elementary School.

SOUTH RUSSELL — The village playground is coming closer to construction and last week, it received a financial boost. Randy Glorioso, president of the Chagrin Falls Dads’ Club, attended the South Russell Village Council meeting April 8 to present a check towards building the playground at the South Russell Park on Bell Road.

The Dads’ Club raised $1,425 for the playground. Mr. Glorioso said the club supports local organizations in the Chagrin Falls Exempted Village School District focusing on projects to serve the younger grades, such as with playgrounds. They just funded a basketball hoop for Gurney Elementary School, he said.

The club held a Texas Hold ‘em tournament at the Chagrin Falls Township Hall as a fundraiser, and the club supported a high school band trailer and holds a golf outing.

At the Village Council meeting, his son Ryan, 9, and daughter Anna, 6, both attend Gurney School and helped present the check to the village.

The club, founded in 1996, supports the schools, children and the community by hosting social events. It holds a free family picnic in the fall at Plzak Farm on Bell Road in South Russell, Mr. Glorioso said. They give out T-shirts, and there are bounce houses, fishing, a balloon artist and a magician. A golf tournament is held in the spring.

In presenting the donation to the village playground on behalf of the Dads’ Club, Mr. Glorioso said it was an honor to do fundraising for the project.

South Russell Village Councilman Gerald Canton, chairman of the properties committee, said, “We are very thankful to the Dads’ Club.” Mr. Canton is council’s representative to the parks committee as well.

The total cost of the playground is $108,000, with another $9,000 to $12,000 to prepare the ground. The prep work for the playground will start in mid-May, weather permitting, he said. “Our service department will do the work, and hopefully, children will be using the playground by the second week in June.”

Mr. Canton said the good work on the project was accomplished by village parks committee members Martha Bistritz, Ted Kruse, Bill Howell and Greg Pike.

He also noted that village residents Ike and Anne Tripp gave $85,000 toward the project and the village was able to obtain a $23,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Nature Works grant with the help of the Chagrin River Watershed Partners. “They wrote the grant for us,” he said of the watershed partners. The Chagrin Valley Jaycees also contributed $500.

The playground will measure 85-by-85 feet wide and will be built about 50 feet east of the park pavilion. Many residents have said the playground is needed at the park and it will be well utilized by families, Mr. Canton said.

The base of the playground will be filled with natural wood chips and the play equipment will be made of wood.“It’s going to be very natural,” he said. It will be in an area that is mowed and maintained by the village and does not infringe on the park’s natural areas.

Being a retired teacher and now substituting at Chagrin Falls School District, he said he focused on third-graders at Gurney Elementary School. “I asked what they like in a playground,” he said. “They like swings, slides, equipment to climb, to go in circles and rocking and bouncing.”

It will be accessible for children who have special physical needs, with ramps providing access to the equipment, Mr. Canton noted.

A local Girl Scout is building a bridge across a swale as a project. The bridge will lead to the playground.

Kompan, located in Dublin, Ohio and specializing in playgrounds, is building the playground. “The village service department will prepare the ground by mid-May, again weather permitting, and it will take three to five days,” Mr. Canton said. “We have to put in drainage and level it off. Then Kompan will be contacted and it will take them about four to five days to build the playground.

“I hope the children will be using it by the first or second week in June. It will be formally dedicated at the village’s Fall Festival,” he said. The date of the festival is to be set.

The village hired landscape architect Craig Cawrse of South Russell to come up with the plans for the design and preparing the grounds and he is responsible for the landscaping plan. CT Consulants did the site plan. Mr. and Mrs. Tripp also participated in the design, Mr. Canton said.

The playground will have six benches with memorial brass plaques. Individuals are paying for them and they will be placed around the playground. There will be two decorative trash containers, also paid for by individuals.

In addition, there is space for 15 trees for people to purchase for memorials. They are $650 each and the type of tree has not been chosen yet, Mr. Canton said. They will include a brass plaque and foundation to be displayed at each tree. Those interested in the benches or trees can call Village Fiscal Officer Danielle Romanowski at 440-338-6700 in Village Hall.

The village will also be putting up a sign of and rules and regulations, he said.

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