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Pupils' deposits on a roll

Another parade of Abraham Lincolns rolled into the AmeriBank lobby Thursday, as pupils from Oldsmar Elementary delivered more than 54,000 pennies for the Friendship Playground fund drive.

Thursday's deposit marked the second time in two weeks that the school's pupils made a big donation of pennies to the playground. Last week's contribution, about twice the size of this week's, took bank officials six hours to count.

With the second load of pennies added to the ones turned in last week, the children have raised $1,591 for the playground so far, said Sue Ferrans of AmeriBank.

"That's a lot of money for little kids to raise," she said.

The 15,000-square-foot wooden playground will be built in April at R. E. Olds Park by volunteers using donated tools and paid for with $60,000 in contributions.

Organizers still have about $20,000 to go with the fund raising, and they're still trying to round up tools such as drills and circular saws, City Clerk Cheryl Mortenson said earlier this week.

Construction will commence April 22 and be finished by April 26, with teams of volunteers working in four-hour shifts day and night at the waterfront park.

In addition to seeking volunteers for the construction work, playground organizers are looking for people to serve food to the construction workers, care for their children, clean up the trash and run errands such as fetching tools from trucks.

But the pupils may wind up having contributed the most to the project. In addition to donating all those thousands of pennies, they also were among the groups that met with architect Daniel Burgevin last fall when he was seeking ideas for the design of the playground.