Playground dedication in L’Anse

Daily Mining Gazette/Garrett Neese Kids gather on the playground near the C.J. Sullivan Elementary School. The playground received some much-needed upgrades this summer.

L’ANSE — School hasn’t started yet, but children were already out in force celebrating the ribbon-cutting at C.J. Sullivan Elementary School’s new playground.

The school’s parent-teacher organization raised $65,000 towards the new playground over a period of about 15 months, said president Elizabeth Wanhatalo. In addition to activities such as candy bar sales and a carnival, it received grants from organizations such as Kaboom! and the Portage Health Auxiliary.

“It was a very long process, but it was worth it,” she said.

The old playground, which had been there for about 17 years, had a slide and a couple of climbing areas. The new one outdoes it, boasting items such as three slides, a bridge, a climbing wall, swings and a “sensory wall,” including bongos.

“We just wanted something that was more interactive,” Wanhatalo said. “It’s definitely kid-friendly and they really seem to like it.”

About 50 community members installed the new playground June 17, working dawn to dusk, Wanhatalo said.

Parent Yancey DeCota of L’Anse likes the new playground. He helped his son Malachi, 2, on the climbing wall.

“They need to climb a bit,” he said. “Burn some of that pent-up energy they’ve got.”

Karl Ahola of L’Anse had two children on the set. His son Ryan, a third-grade student at C.J. Sullivan, liked the drums, because they make lots of noises.

“I think it’s great,” Karl said. “It’s about time they had something for the kids.”