Thank You Ceremony at Pitkin Playground
Posted on 10/12/2021
Pitkin Playground Committee

Thank You Ceremony at Pitkin Playground


The new boundless playground at Governor Pitkin Elementary School is officially open after a special “Thank You Ceremony” on October 5. The Pitkin Playground Committee held the celebration to spread the word to the community that the playground is open and to show gratitude to all of those who made this project possible.

“This playground is a symbol of what happens when a community works together to achieve a dream,” said Dr. Kristen Wilder, Technology Coach at Pitkin.

Pitkin Playground Thank You Ceremony

The $440,000 playground is the first handicap-accessible playground in East Hartford. It was the vision of several Pitkin parents for students to be able to play on the playground with all of their friends, including those in the medically fragile classroom.

“I can tell you without a doubt our children benefit from this playground and the ability to play together as a community every single day,” said Pitkin Principal Bea Corrado.

A true grassroots effort, this project was paid for entirely through fundraising, donations, and grants.  This included a $75,000 grant from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, more than $16,000 in parent donations, and more than $2,000 raised in charity basketball games with East Hartford Police.

The largest sum came from an anonymous community donor who heard about the dream for this playground and donated $381,000 to assure it would be built.

“This person is our guardian angel and we truly could not have done it without you,” said Lizzette Smith, one of the Pitkin parents who fought for this project and lead fundraising efforts along with Lauren Dobson and Dorothy Bromfield.

The main play structure was installed in August 2020, but due to the pandemic, the committee was never able to hold a grand opening celebration.

The Pitkin Playground Committee is continuing its fundraising efforts for Phase III of the project, which will include a gazebo large enough to seat up to 24 students at ADA-accessible picnic tables.

Superintendent Nathan Quesnel said, “This is going to be here for a long time. This is going to be enjoyed by a lot of East Hartford families for a very long time, and that’s a mark. That’s a legacy to leave.”