NEW BREMEN — Tucked into a clearing in the middle of some tall pines and just in time for the start of school, a new playground was installed and ready for fun next to Wagner Field, the town’s baseball diamond, on Tillman Road.
The site was dedicated Monday evening to Ralph “Bub” Hall, the town’s highway superintendent from 1972 to 2013, who passed away earlier this year.
“We were trying to think of something that would be family oriented and fun while at the same time being helpful,” said Town Councilwoman Casandra Buell. “This just seemed to make sense because so many people have kids that come to play ball but their little ones can’t focus that long on the game and climb the sand piles or play in the road.”
The town highway department’s massive sand pile is also next to the ball park.
The process of pulling together a number of ideas, considering equipment and finding funding started at the end of 2017, Mrs. Buell said. In April, she informed many of her community members on Facebook that playground funding was a go.
“I am beyond excited to announce that we have secured the grant funding necessary to purchase the playground equipment🤗.🥳 A huge thank you to the Pratt Northam Foundation, Iroquois Gas Transmission, and the Beaver River Youth Advisory Council for their generous support!” she said in her post.
Playground equipment donated by the Croghan Lions Club was the result of the club’s citizen of the year, Kaitlyn Metzler, choosing the project for club funding she targeted as part of her recognition and the Lewis County Leadership Academy helped clear the playground site on May 4 during its Community Day of Caring service event.
Mrs. Buell said that originally, the plan was to have a “community build” element to the project, but the installation of the equipment to the safety standards needed gave the fire department the opportunity to pitch in, too, Mrs. Buell said.
She credited firemen Les Hoppel, Ben Buell, Brian Buell, Bruce Peck and Brian Smith for installing the equipment and going a step beyond, all in the name of safety.
“I’m sure they’ll deny it, but they did spend some time testing the equipment and let’s just say the four-man teeter-totter is the group favorite,” Mrs. Buell said at the ceremony.
Amos Glenn was credited with volunteering his time and equipment to help some of the firemen spread the mulch as well.
With about 50 community members attending the unveiling, many of whom were Mr. Hall’s family, Town Clerk Liz Jones paid tribute to him, acknowledging his contribution to the town over the decades and calling on his help one last time.
“We will never forget you,” Ms. Jones said, “Keep a close watch over our littles on the playground and over the town. You’re forever in our hearts.”