www.tribtoday.com – Staff photos / Bob Coupland, State Sen. Sandra O’Brien, right, presents a state citation to Kennedy VanDervort, 10, of West Farmington, for her contributions from a lemonade stand to help cover costs for the new West Farmington Playground, which opened this month. O’Brien was able to secure $210,000 in state funds for the playground project.

WEST FARMINGTON — West Farmington kids now have a place to play — again.
After tearing down aging playground equipment more than four years ago, village Mayor Shirley McIntosh recently officially opened the new $210,000 playground.

“It has been a dream of me and others to build a new playground for the children,” she said. “With the help we have received, it has come to fruition.”

Construction of the playground at Grove and Fourth streets began in the fall. The site includes swing sets, climbing units, a rock wall with an attached 6-foot slide and a merry-go-round.

McIntosh said local residents helped spread three large loads of mulch, seed the ground and put down straw, saving the village more than $10,000.

“The money they helped save allowed us to use that for playground equipment,” she said. “This is the only local playground that we have here.”

And even the children themselves got into the community effort.

Kennedy VanDervort, 10, Bristol Local School District fifth-grader, contributed $120 she collected at her lemonade stand. As a result, she was invited to handle the ribbon cutting for the playground.

“It will be nice that the local kids will have a place to play and not have to be stuck at home,” Kennedy said.

Her grandmother, Sharon VanDervort of Warren, and formerly of West Farmington, said Kennedy’s lemonade stand was a great idea. Kennedy had help from her other grandmother, Michelle Bruno of Middlefield.

Mike McIntosh, project manager, said the equipment was purchased from Midstates Recreation.

You have to climb up the side of the rock to be able to slide down the attached sliding board, said McIntosh, who designed the playground’s layout. “We have a state-of-the art playground with the newest equipment.”

State Sen. Sandra O’Brien, who represents Trumbull County, said she was able to secure a $200,000 state capital budget grant for the construction.

“I was so pleased to be able to help them,” O’Brien, R-Lenox, said. “We all pay taxes, and they deserve to have some funds come back here. I stressed how this community needed a new playground.”

McIntosh said without O’Brien’s help, the playground would not have been possible.

“She told us she would work to help bring back money to the smaller communities. She sure came through for West Farmington,” McIntosh said.

O’Brien also presented Kennedy with a state citation from the Ohio General Assembly for her efforts and contributions to the project.

McIntosh said village council also has been supportive of the project.