Fundraising committee formed for full-access playground

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

of The Montclair Times

The municipality is forming a “For All Children Committee” to raise private donations for a planned full-access playground in Edgemont Memorial Park.

The playground will have play stations, a playground surface and entrances that are designed to accommodate children with disabilities and special needs, according to a municipal release.

Township Manager Joseph Hartnett and Mayor Ed Remsen will co-chair the fundraising committee and 2nd Ward Township Councilwoman Robin Schlager will chair a subcommittee for the project, according to a release. Director of Community Services Steve Wood will be involved in the park.

Susan Irby, former chairperson of Montclair’s People with Disabilities Advisory Committee, will be a committee member. Hartnett also cited John Cronogue of the Friends of Edgemont Park Committee as a contributor to the project.

“Unfortunately, playgrounds of this nature are extremely expensive, costing as much as four times or more what a standard playground costs,” Hartnett stated.

The Township Council has committed $200,000 to the project and the township has obtained a $50,000 state grant toward it, according to the release.

Hartnett stated that “the playground is going to cost $400,000, which is why we have a fundraising goal of $150,000 to seek from private donations and foundation grants.”

Committee member Alma Schneider aims to contribute to the fundraising.

Schneider is the founder of Parents Who Rock, a locally based organization of people who had performed rock music professionally or as amateurs, but then put aside their instruments to become taxpaying, yard-raking, diaper-changing parents. Her club inspires the former rockers to rekindle their talents in a spirit of fun — and community assistance. Once or twice each year, Parents Who Rock rocks out in a local venue such as the Diva Lounge. Ticket prices are then donated to a nonprofit entity or to a cause, such as addressing the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

Later this month, Parents Who Rock will release a debut CD with 21 tracks. The $10 cost will be donated to the “All Children’s Playground” in Edgemont Memorial Park.

“We want to raise money and raise awareness for this playground,” Schneider told The Times.

“Parents Who Rock is about getting together musicians who want to get back out there and get back into music,” Schneider said. “But we should use our power for good. We can do two things at the same time. Have fun, but be aware of our neighbors.

“I’m always trying to maximize a good thing,” said Schneider, who is a social worker.

The upcoming CD will feature many local artists who participate in Parents Who Rock.

Schneider is accepting pre-orders for the CD, and readers interested in ordering a disc or inquiring about Parents Who Rock can e-mail:

The disc includes one track of Schneider on guitar accompanying her daughter, Ilah, 7, who sings “Stepping Stone,” the tune by Neil Diamond that was a resounding hit for The Monkees.

“It’s going to be an awesome playground for everyone,” said Schneider, who expects that kids with disabilities will share the rides and equipment with kids who don’t have special needs.

“Not to be corny, but this is a place where everybody will be on the same playing field,” she said of the playground.

The municipality intends to have the special playground constructed in the spring 2008.

The manager stated “in all likelihood the fundraising effort would offer people the opportunity to contribute toward individual play stations as well as other components of the playground.”

The committee will have an organizational meeting this month and will have regular public announcements afterward.

Anyone interested in helping with this cause, or in working with the committee contact Hartnett at 973-509-4926 or .

Staff Writer Mark S. Porter contributed to this article. Contact Erica Zarra at

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