Let’s go to Kari’s Play World. That is what children and parents in Bainbridge will be saying when the playground at River Run Park is replaced in the coming weeks.

An act of generosity by Kari Friedman’s family is helping to make a yearlong community effort to replace the deteriorating playground a reality.

Kari’s parents, Mark and Jill Friedman, and her sister IIana, recently donated $35,000 to the playground fundraiser. Kari died in a tragic auto accident in 2014 at the age of 30 in Montana. The family won a wrongful death lawsuit against the state for failing to fix the intersection known to be dangerous. The Friedmans have used the money to help others, including funding scholarships in Montana in areas that reflected Kari’s passions.

Mr. Friedman said his daughter, who was pursuing a graduate social counseling degree, loved working with children. The donation to help build the playground will benefit children for decades.

Initially there was doubt the playground would be replaced. Last year, Bainbridge Township Trustees asked residents if playgrounds were necessary for community parks. The answer was a resounding yes.

The question surfaced after the playground at River Road Park was found in a state of disrepair with broken equipment and rotted wood poles. Was replacing the 15-year-old play area worth the investment? Would families use it, trustees asked.

Trustees mentioned that township funds were limited, but they agreed to allocate about $20,000 for drainage repairs and $80,000 for new equipment.

Though generous, that would not cover the cost of a state-of-the-art playground with all the needed safety features.

Residents came out in force and got involved, researching the best playground options and organizing a fundraiser. In October, about a year after the whole process began, trustees announced that $156,605 in equipment was being ordered. Though the fundraiser had been put on hold this past spring due to the pandemic, trustees reopened the fund drive over the summer, resulting in enough donations to pay for the rest of the project.

We commend the community spirit of residents who supported this project. Acts of kindness and camaraderie are inspiring during this time when there is so much negativity in the world.

And we thank the Friedmans for their generous gift that will keep memories of Kari alive in Bainbridge.

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