Charter Foundation grant allows for new playground equipment at Eastside J.P. Powell Magnet School

Published 10:30 am Thursday, November 30, 2023

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It was announced Wednesday that Eastside John P. Powell Magnet School was awarded a $50,000 grant from The Charter Foundation for new playground equipment. The grant was written by Ansley Emfinger and Andie Roberts of the Chamber’s County Development Authority (CCDA) on behalf of the school.

“[The kids] deserve the best. We want them to go outside and stay active and promote social skills for them and things like physical activity,” Emfinger said. 

The current playground is extremely outdated according to the school’s principal, Allyson Matthews. It consists of a metal jungle gym and metal and plastic slides, swings, seesaws and a playset. 

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“It’s really sort of an eyesore and the pieces are not all sturdy and safe. It’s been a long time coming,” Matthews said.

The Pre-K playground was updated in August with funding from the State of Alabama’s Pre-K Program Matthews said the state only wants the Pre-K aged students to utilize the area because the equipment cannot be used safely by older kids.

The grant will be used to build a new play structure designed and built by Struthers Recreation. It will also pay for the installation and labor costs, updates for some of the older equipment and ground cover for the play area. The materials will be weather and heat-resistant, which the old metal structure lacked.

“[The new playground] should be sustainable for quite a few years, so it should impact many years of students to come,” Emfinger said. 

Emfinger and Roberts have been awarded Charter Foundation grants before. They were approached by Springwood School in 2021 to write a grant for its new playground, and the pair helped secure $43,000 for the project. Having seen the outdated playground at Eastside J.P.P Magnet, CCDA approached the school with an offer to write them a similar grant. Emfinger said the public school would be unable to fund these repairs without the Charter Foundation.

The grant funding is being deposited and going through an approval process now. While Matthews didn’t have a concrete timeline for the project, she hopes to get the materials ordered by January. 

Roberts stated in the press release, “without the Charter Foundation’s continuous contributions and support to our community, this would not be possible.” 

According to their website, the Charter Foundation’s aim is “to assist non-profit organizations and programs that are working to improve [Troup and Chambers counties] in thoughtful, creative, and meaningful ways.”

The foundation also awarded grants to the Chattahoochee Human Society and West Point Police Department during its fall grant cycle.