Senator Flanagan Secures Funding For School Playground In Lake Ronkonkoma

John J. Flanagan

October 05, 2007

Senator Flanagan (third from right) joins with Assistant Superintendent for Business Bruce Singer, Principal Denise Kleinman, Brookhaven Town Councilwoman Kathy Walsh, Annmarie Czarnecki, Janet Coleman, Debra Hall, Debbie Olshefsky, Physical Education teacher Peter Cafiso and Superintendent Charles Murphy at Gantlet Avenue Elementary School as they open the new playground.

Senator John Flanagan (2nd Senate District) and Brookhaven Town Councilwoman Kathleen Walsh (3rd Council District) were pleased to join the children and staff of the Gatelot Avenue Elementary School in Lake Ronkonkoma at the grand opening of their new playground. Senator Flanagan and Councilwoman Walsh were able to secure over $30,000 in funding to help offset the cost of the new play area and worked closely with the Gatelot Avenue Elementary School Project Playground Committee as they sought to upgrade the school's recreation equipment.

During the grand opening, the two legislators were thanked by the staff and students for their role in securing the funding that helped build that playground. As part of their appreciation, the children of the school presented Senator Flanagan with cards that each class designed to thank him for his assistance.

"While I am touched by this recognition, the playground committee and the staff are the ones who made this happen. This was their vision and I am happy that I was able to help them achieve their goal," stated Senator Flanagan. "The new playground looks great and really shows the kids that their parents and their school care."

After contacting Senator Flanagan and Councilwoman Walsh, the committee quickly received assistance to supplement their own fundraising efforts. By August of this year, the playground was delivered and construction began so that the new equipment was ready when the children returned to school.

In a statement, the Gatelot Avenue Elementary School Project Playground Committee praised Senator Flanagan for his efforts: "The students of Gatelot were as excited about Senator Flanagan's visit to their school as they were about their new playground. The students realize that without Senator Flanagan's assistance the playground would have taken several years to become a reality. Gatelot families, community members, faculty, staff and local government officials were all instrumental in making this ribbon cutting possible. If any one person had not done their part, no matter how big or small, we would not be celebrating this new playground today. We hope the Gatelot students realize that when people all work together as a team great things can happen."

"The success of this effort is truly a result of a great partnership on every level. With the input and care of parents, teachers and state and town representatives, the children now have a new and safe place to play," stated Councilwoman Walsh. "I hope the children enjoy their new playground and their school year."

At the opening of the playground, Principal Denise Kleinman read a quote from Margaret Mead: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." She added that the playground was the result of the work of a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens who changed the world of these children by giving them a safe and exciting place to play.