To the editor:
Paw Print Park at Lake Placid Elementary School recently opened, and the children's smiles and laughter are a joy to see. The generosity and support of the entire Lake Placid community is the reason we were able to build Paw Print Park, the Richard A. Retrosi outdoor classroom and the school vegetable and flower gardens. We would like to mention a few key individuals and organizations that helped make this entire project a reality.
At the inception, Wynde Kate Reese of Earth Roots Landscaping and Andrew Chary, Architect, created a design that we presented to our community. Their vision and creativity helped generate support and donations from hundreds of donors.
The Uihlein Foundation's challenge grant was also a major factor in helping us in reaching our fundraising goal. They, too, believed in our vision and encouraged further donations with their challenge.
Without the dedication of Pat Ledger, our talented craftsman, we would never have been able to create our incredible park. His vision and leadership have been invaluable throughout the entire creation process.
Dr. Richards' commitment to our creative, educational space has been paramount. When presented with a challenge from the school district's insurance company, he found a great resource in Steve Lauzen and Parkitects Inc. to help retain the vision of Paw Print Park and keep our children playing.
The effort by many in early October to build berms, make slides, put swing sets together and move a literal mountain of wood fiber was astonishing. We can't name all who helped but would like to point out a few. Without the town and village loaders, equipment and awesome drivers, we would still be moving wood fiber! Thank you to the Electric Department for drilling holes for the swing sets and slides. The support by members of our school district, including Dr. Richards, Mr. Perez, Bill Begor, Dave Mayberry, Jeff Jaques, Matt Young, school board President Mary Dietrich and board member Patti Gallagher shows the dedication they have to our school. They worked through less-than-ideal conditions alongside 30 students from Northwood School and made the work weekend a success. And thank you to all of the other the incredible volunteers from our community - too many to name! They donated food and showed up with rakes and shovels in hand, ready to work. Thank you!
But most importantly, none of this would have been possible without Rick Retrosi. Rick led Lake Placid Elementary School for 12 years. He worked in our school district for a total of 33 years, touching thousands of children's lives. His dedication to our children was and still is incredible. When FRIENDS presented Rick with the idea of Paw Print Park, he saw that we could create a very special space for our children. Studies show that children spend too much time in front of TVs and video games, and are losing their creativity. Studies also show that obesity levels amongst U.S. children are at an all-time high. Rick saw the value in creating an outdoor space that would stimulate children's imaginations and keep them moving in a way that connected them to our beautiful Adirondack community.
Thank you to the entire community for supporting Paw Print Park at the Lake Placid Elementary School.
Katrina Kroes, Carrie Donatello, Martha Bullock, Diane Brenner and Jackie Gilmore
Members of FRIENDS, the parent-teacher organization at Lake Placid Elementary School