Law firm's donation helps to construct playscape at Dunbar School

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Bridgeport News

May 28, 2009

The Bridgeport law firm of Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder donated $5,000, the equivalent of a half-million pennies, to the Dunbar Elementary School for their Pennies for Playgrounds project.

The kindergarten-to-eighth-grade school, along with the greater community, had been collecting coins to fund the construction of a new play area on the school grounds.

The school’s penny drive was an effort to raise nearly $85,000 — in pennies — as part of an overall plan to revitalize neglected segments of city neighborhoods.

Gov. M. Jodi Rell called Project Playground “a great example of how private entities and community groups can benefit both school children and the larger neighborhood.”

Spearheaded by the East End Neighborhood Revitalization Zone, the fund-raising effort transformed a previously condemned lot adjacent to Dunbar Elementary School. Dunbar had been the only East End school without a playground.

A recent dedication ceremony was attended by city and school officials, community leaders, parents and children.

Attorney Richard Bieder of Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder recently delivered the law firm’s latest donation in wheelbarrows, joined by bank personnel. The cache of pennies (1,000 rolls to equal $500), the final part of the legal firm’s donation, was presented to Dunbar Principal Charmaine Worthy and the student body.

“We are delighted to support your effort,” Bieder told students at an outdoor assembly. “We are impressed by the dedication we have seen and are confident you will reach any goals you set for yourselves. The proof is that you now have a terrific playground ready for you to enjoy, from this spring onwards.”

School Supt. John J. Ramos Sr. called the effort a “community collaboration at its best. Our children need and deserve a place to play, and we appreciate Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder and other community partners who understand the importance of supporting the whole child.”

Worthy said the Pennies for Playgrounds project culminated in a playscape suitable for children in kindergarten through sixth grade, with swings, slides, park benches and landscaping. The installation of a new, full-sized floodlit basketball court with rubber flooring is expected to follow after additional fund-raising efforts.

“This project,” Bieder added with a smile at the dedication, “makes cents!”