By Alisha McDarris
JENSEN BEACH -- The Jensen Beach Community Playground Committee has envisioned a bright, shiny new playground where a shabby, run-down relic currently stands, but they need the community's help to build it.
That's why they've organized a 5k, 10k and kid's fun run to take place on Feb. 8.
The playground they want to replace is at Jensen Beach Elementary. It's used by the students at recess, but it's more than 40-years old, rusty and lacking in stimulating components.
"There's not much to it," said Jill Richardson, one of the general coordinators on the playground committee.
So a group of individuals, mostly from the school PTA, decided it was time to upgrade.
But since there weren't any funds available from the school or the Parks and Recreation department who partners with the school to make the area a community playground, they had to start fundraising.
They kicked the project off last April and the children drew pictures of what their ideal playground resembled.
"They actually designed the playground," Ms. Richardson said.
It will have artificial turf and a Viking ship, a spiral slide and hurricane spinner, even ramps and a therapeutic swing for children with disabilities.
"We want it to be a playground where children of all abilities can play," Ms. Richardson said.
The plan is to raise $300,000 by the end of April so building can start directly after, but there is still $170,000 left to go.
They've sold Tervis Tumblers and tiles, pickets and brick pavers that will surround the playground, and Ms. Richardson hopes the run raises at least $10,000-$15,000 as the community comes out to show their support.
"There's a large running community in Martin County," Ms. Richardson said. "We felt like this was something that would bring the community out and that they would like to do."
Runners and walkers will tour Jensen Beach neighborhoods during the scenic road race, the first 200 of which will receive a long sleeve race shirt, and the fastest runners will be awarded prizes.
The 5k entry fee is $20 until Feb. 5 and $25 after that. The 10k race fee is $25 until Feb. 5 and increases to $30 on Feb. 6. The Kid's 1 mile fun run is $10 and competitors can register online at www.active.com or in person at Fleet Feet on N.W. Federal Highway in Stuart.
The race starts at 7 a.m. at Jensen Beach Elementary.
Sponsorships for the run are still available and business or individuals wanting to support the playground can find out more by visiting www.jbplayground.com
All proceeds will be used to help cover the costs associated with building the new Jensen Beach Community Playground at Jensen Beach Elementary.
Ms. Richardson hopes anyone who wants to support the community project will be there so an under-utilized area can be transformed into an attraction for all.