NEWFIELD, NY – The large wooden playground in front of Newfield’s School has long been a stand-out feature of the town. Now, more than 20 years after its initial construction, the Newfield community is working together to renovate and add some new features to it.

And it really is a community project — while Playgrounds by Leathers out of Ithaca is overseeing the project, the labor force actually doing the work are mostly volunteers, including many students who attend Newfield schools. And any, regardless of their familiarity with the work, is welcome to come help.

The project consists of two phases. The first phase, which is being funded from the school’s budget, is being worked on throughout this weekend. This phase will focus on repairs and renovations to make the playground safer. This includes replacing some old equipment, replacing balusters and bringing in new ground cover.

Phase two, which is dependent on $50,000 in fundraising, will involve replacing much of the old wooden structure with plastic to improve durability and prevent splinters.

In order to raise funds for the second phase, organizers are doing something that is sure to remind residents of the playground in its original state. The playground features many planks on its outer fence that are engraved with people’s names.

In order to raise funds, they are selling engraved boards for a $35 donation, so anyone who wishes to support the playground can put their mark on it. As for the old wooden boards, one of the project’s goals is to build a suspended covered bridge, and the old boards will be used on the outside of it.

The hope is to raise the money and begin the phase two renovation by mid-September. After this weekend’s work is complete, the playground will open back up, and the phase two construction is planned to be another weekend job.

You can find some information about the project and how to buy a board here.

Michael Smith

Michael Smith reports on politics and local news for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached via email at, by cell at (607) 229-0885, or via Google Voice at (518) 650-3639.