“It has become a beloved space for an entire generation of children, some of whom
return to the Koala Run Playground for high school graduation photographs,” said
Southside Neighborhood Association (SNA) Board President David Dowler. The Carder
Elementary School playground, built in 2010 through a massive volunteer effort, will be
receiving updates and enhancements with the continued support of the SNA. Officials
from the SNA presented the Corning-Painted Post Area School District this month with
a check for over $9,500 to help support the updates to the playground.

The Southside Neighborhood Association is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to
the preservation and restoration of the built environment in Corning. Its members are
primarily residents of the Southside neighborhood, where Carder Elementary is located.
The SNA recently pursued an opportunity to work with the district on a plan for
improvement work to the playground. The SNA Board of Directors worked closely with
CPP School Business Official Paul Webster to initiate the process and coordinate
specifically what work needed to be done. Webster said, “We continually assess all of
our infrastructure across the district, and identify needed work with our architects. For
the playground, we had ready-to-go information on some needed improvements. While
most district work is completed through capital projects, we had items that could be
done through a donation such as the one from the SNA, and that is what will be
happening with Koala Run.” He continued, “It has been an honor to be part of such a
collaborative and positive relationship with the Southside Neighborhood Association that
spans many years.”

Carder Principal Dan Davis said, “We are grateful for the support of the Southside
Neighborhood Association. This gift will ensure many more generations of Carder
‘Koalas’ and families in our community will enjoy the playground for years to come.”
The story of how the playground came to be is one of collaboration, dedication, and a
shared vision to provide a gift to the community. Southside resident and SNA Board of
Directors member Ann Campbell helped coordinate the playground build. She said, “In
2010 several years of planning by teams of parents, teachers, and community members
culminated in a five-day build in which hundreds of volunteers worked to complete the
playground designed by Carder students. Fundraising for the project included $50,000
raised through the Pepsi Refresh project, in which thousands of community members
voted daily for a month to catapult the project to the top spot. The Koala Run
playground features some of Corning’s iconic historic landmarks, including the Little Joe
Tower and the Rockwell Museum, and continues to be a gathering place for children
during school hours and community members when school is not in session.”
With this new donation, the immediate work to be completed this school year is to
purchase new swings and to replace the suspension bridge cabling. Future work also
includes replacing surface material, adding wear mats under swings, purchasing new
trash receptacles, replacing some parts of the structure, and improving accessibility to
meet newer code requirements.

The donation of $9,683.96 was officially accepted by the CPP Board of Education at the
October meeting.

SNA Website:

Photo Caption: (left to right) Paul Webster, CPP School Business Official; Susan Berry,
SNA Board of Directors Secretary; David Dowler, SNA Board of Directors President;
Paul Ebeltoft, SNA Board of Directors member; Dan Davis, Carder Elementary
Principal; Nicole Salyerds, CPP Administrative Intern; Jennifer Batzing, CPP Assistant
Superintendent of Elementary Education 

For a look back at the project’s progression from the idea stage to a completed
playground, and also what is a story of school and community collaboration...together
as one, here are two archived videos:

Fundraising video the SNA made for the Pepsi Refresh Project and Build Time lapse: