The sun came out just in time for a Brownson Home playscape dedication Thursday.

"It started as a dream of the committee," said Ada Sutherland, chairwoman of the child guidance committee and board member. "Today we give thanks to everybody that made this dream possible."

The children's home staff funded the $26,915 playscape with a letter-writing campaign and donations from the community, including local businesses and more than 50 individual families.

Administrator Rise Konarik said 14 children who live in the two cottages will be able to take advantage of the new landscaped playground area.

The playscape includes a swing set, two covered picnic tables, a big swing, a bridge with a tunnel, a slide set and plenty of seating throughout the roughly 16,000-square-foot area.

Mike Clark, of Clark Landscape Company, said he worked on the project with the board for years before they started construction.

He said his company made sure the area was built to code to provide a safe place for children to play.

A $5,582 grant from the Dow Chemical Company helped get the project started.

The idea for the playscape came from boardmember the Rev. Jim Kee-Rees.

The Trinity Episcopal Church pastor said he had helped build a playground at a church in Oklahoma and suggested durable, low-maintenance materials.

Shortly before the dedication, his 9-year-old son, Luke Kee-Rees, jumped on the big nest swing, saying, "I love this!"

Most of the construction on the playscape was done in about three weeks, Clark said.

The children who live at the home would watch the progress in anticipation from the cottage windows.

"They watched for weeks," said Sutherland. "It's really great for these kids."

Most children accepted into the home are from the Crossroads and referrals are through word of mouth.

Brownson Home was opened in 1940 and operates on private donations but is mainly funded by the estate as directed by the late Catherine Brownson in memory of her husband, John Milton Brownson.

Konarik announced the next big project is an outdoor kitchen and covered area between the two cottages.

A $68,000 grant from the MG and Lillie A. Johnson Foundation will help fund the project. The foundation has already paid for a new white van.

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Features Editor

Laura has covered health and nonprofits in the Crossroads since 2014. She's also mom to a toddler, loves journalism conferences and is a big fan of sci-fi and crime TV.

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