Several years ago the community of Pandora worked together to build a special park for their children. Hundreds of volunteers came out during a week of construction. Since then the playground filled with castles, slides, and swing bars has been a popular place.
Recently it was the sense of community that brought two groups together to make an improvement at the playground. Members of the Pandora-Gilboa Football field worked with village officials to replace the mulch with more durable pea gravel.
“We had been doing things to raise money for new football uniforms,” said football coach Carey Arthur. “I was looking for a work for donation project for the players,”
Arthur said he approached the village and put up announcements around the community.
The village officials suggested this project.
“We’ve been putting new mulch around the playground structure about every other year,” said village administrator Stan Schneck. “After awhile the mulch just turned into dirt.”
Schneck said they had decided to remove the mulch and replace it with pea gravel. “But we knew it would be an enormous job.”
When Arthur approached the village about a possible work-for-donation project, both men felt this would be a good fit.
“The Pandora-Gilboa Football moms had been doing things like selling cookie dough to help us raise money,” Arthur said. “We thought it would be good if the players did something themselves.”
The high school players, grades 9-12 came out six nights initially to remove the mulch. Each night around 20 boys would show up.
Schneck said this was a big project since the mulch had accumulated over the years and was several inches thick.
Under the mulch was tarp to separate it from the stone underneath.
“We took it all out like a master jig saw puzzle so we could lay the pea gravel over the large stones,” Arthur explained.
He said leadership skills were developed while they did the work.
“We had to have someone in charge of overseeing the racers and others to oversee where the wheel barrows of stones would be taken.
Arthur said certain players came up with ideas of how to lay the larger stones back down before putting on the pea gravel.
“It was like figuring out a master jig saw puzzle,” he said.
It took an additional two days to put all of the stone back and cover it with the pea gravel.
“A lot of the players recalled playing on the playground when they were younger,” Arthur said. “They enjoyed remembering playing in certain areas of the playground.”
Arthur said they also enjoyed watching as young children came out to play on the playground while they were working.
“We always kept a section open for the children to play in,” he said.
Schneck said the town hasn’t decided yet how much they will donate to the football program to help pay for the new uniforms.
“I’d like to do a community service project in Gilboa next year,” Arthur said, “since the school represents both communities.”