WFSB brings together school, firefighters for new playground - WFSB 3 Connecticut

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WFSB brings together school, firefighters for new playground

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EAST HAVEN, CT (WFSB) -

Channel 3 Eyewitness News is committed to being on your side by trying to build a bridge of communication for a shoreline school community in need of a new playground.

Eyewitness News reporter Jill Konopka went to East Haven to check on an old, rundown playground at the D.C. Moore School after the principal contacted us to see if there was anything we could do to help.

"So, as of right now, my children have nothing over there for a playground," said principal Jackie Bacon. "Parents have tried to raise money and it's been a struggle."

Bacon reached out to Eyewitness News after seeing our story on the groundbreaking of the Sandy Ground Project in Ansonia. It is one of 26 new playgrounds being built in honor of each of the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting in December.

"It would be an honor and a privilege to have my kids on a playground to honor one of the victims of the Sandy Hook tragedy," Bacon said. "It's all about the children and what a wonderful way for my kids to relate to something that occurred in a positive way."

The idea originated with New Jersey firefighters to help cities in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut make a comeback after being hit hard by Superstorm Sandy.

And when the Newtown shooting occurred, the project shifted to include something "where angels play." Touching tributes with special meaning for Bacon and her close-knit community.

"When I was in Danbury, I was a principal of a school where Dawn Hochsprung was the vice principal, so having worked with her, it would be special to have a playground here and maybe honor Dawn. That would be great," Bacon said.

Parent Paula Troiano said she loved the idea for her 4-year-old Liana.

"That's wonderful," she said. "We're in desperate need of a playground. I was worrying this summer because there's no covered area for children and their toys, and the playground here is so old."

The community has struggled to raise money for new equipment after being hit by Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy.

Channel 3 Eyewitness News was about to put Bacon in contact with that New Jersey fireman overseeing the project.

"He's very excited," Bacon said. "He would like to come over and visit our school and talk with us about possibly setting up something here for the children."

Bacon couldn't contain her excitement about getting Channel 3 Eyewitness News on her side to try and get the new playground built.

"I think you so much, Jill, for coming over and WFSB and supporting this venture," she said.

So far 20 other sites have been selected and there are still spots open. The fireman said he will continue to evaluate families wishes.

The firefighters said they have received far more requests for playgrounds than there are funds available, but they're continuing to fundraise and feel the project could go well beyond the original 26 playgrounds.

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