Community comes together for park pavilion

 A handful of Oil City businesses and community members have come together to make the construction of a pavilion at the Lincoln Land of Laughter Playground on Harriott Avenue a reality.

Rina Irwin, the CEO of Child Development Centers, informed city council in February of challenges the organization was having while distributing thousands of free meals to area youth at the playground as part of its summer lunch program.

The two biggest concerns were the lack of electricity and a pavilion, resulting in the use of a generator to keep the meals hot and a tent to keep children out of any inclement weather.

Since then, Howard Faunce, the city’s director of public works, has been communicating with different businesses to see what could be done to move the process along.

Faunce announced at Thursday’s city council meeting that electric service has already been installed at the playground thanks to donations from Snyder Electric and Penelec.

Curt Greene, the city’s code enforcement director, also conducted an electrical inspection free of charge, Faunce said.

The Polish National Alliance on Seneca Street is purchasing all the materials for the construction of the pavilion, JI McCall Construction Inc. is donating the time to build the pavilion, King’s Landscaping will pour the cement floor, former mayor Barb Crudo has donated money toward the purchase of picnic tables, and Carter Lumber discounted all its materials.

“I think it is tremendous that there is an outpouring of support,” mayor Bill Moon Jr. said Friday. “It’s going to benefit everyone.”

If everything goes as planned, work will begin Monday on the pavilion.

Faunce said the contractor indicated it might only take a few days to complete the structure before the cement floor can be installed.

Once the pavilion is finished, Faunce said there is a possibility of a plaque or another similar item being installed there to recognize everyone who contributed to the project.

“Everyone puts us (the city) down, but people reach out and support the community and what we do here,” Moon said.

Permanent shelters with picnic tables are also giving Child Development Centers’ lunch program a lift at two playgrounds in Franklin, one of which is on 11th Street and the other on Atlantic Avenue.

Several individuals and organizations gave funding and materials for the two Franklin shelters, including Reck Construction, Child Development Centers board member Janet Aaron, Franklin Moose, Franklin Elks, Snyder Electric and two anonymous contributors.

“It’s tremendous what these donors have given in support of our shelter project and our lunch program,” Irwin said in a press release. “In most cases, all we needed to do was ask, and the donors were very willing to give. And some we didn’t really even ask. When they learned what we wanted to do, they volunteered to contribute.”