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New Playground Unveiled at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School in Yorktown

A $75,000 bullet aid grant for the project at Lakeland Central School District was secured by Senator Greg Ball.

A new playground at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School in Yorktown was unveiled with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday in front of Lakeland students, faculty and staff.

Senator Greg Ball (R, C, I – Patterson) had secured a $75,000 bullet aid grant to make the project possible at the school. The former playground at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School was small and capable of holding 75 students at a time. The school itself has more 600 students and the numbers didn't match, Ball said.

"We are very excited that the Lakeland Central School District and Senator Greg Ball are able to partner again to provide a wonderful opportunity for the students at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School," Lakeland Superintendent of Schools Dr. George Stone said. 

Ball said the new equipment will help prevent childhood obesity by keeping the students active.

"Children will use the equipment to improve their upper body strength, core muscles, cardio and even their balance on some of the obstacles," he said. "Childhood obesity is an epidemic that we are just beginning to grapple with the reality and consequences of. Physical conditioning is a critical component of a broader education and these early building blocks set the stage for future health."

Benjamin Franklin Elementary School Principal Patricia Mcilvenny-Moore said she was pleased that the two-year effort to build a new playground was finally a reality.

"However, this would not have been possible without a $75,000 grant facilitated by Senator Greg Ball," she said. "On behalf of Benjamin Franklin students and staff, we are truly grateful to Senator Ball and his office for their determined effort to make this happen."

PTA President Diane Kness also thanked Ball for his "generous support."

"It is often said that it takes a village to raise a child and in this case it is very accurate," she said. 

The Ben Franklin playground committee was formed two years ago to raise money to update the play equipment.

"Here we are two years later and thanks to many helping hands, fundraisers, donations and the grant from Greg Ball's office, we have an awesome playground and swings for the present as well as the future children of Ben Franklin to enjoy," said Karen Brown of the Benjamin Franklin Elementary Playground Committee. "We are thrilled."

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