May 21, 2004 – For the five and under crowd, the Dorothea Tot Lot is the place to be on the north side of St. Thomas. Since it opened just over a year ago, the musical sound of childrens laughter can be heard from the road as you drive by. Its a great place to ride bikes, kick a ball around or climb on the jungle gym. But parents who have been there know, when your two year old tells you its time to go, you actually have to pack up and goquick! Because theres no potty.
Dont worry; a bathroom is on its way.
"We want to keep this park as pristine as possible," says Ann Durante-Arnold, president of the Northside Civic Organization. "It's been there a year and I'm proud of the job were doing in keeping it up."
The organization is hosting the Dorothea Potty Party next month to raise money for this important amenity. There will be a raffle, games with prizes for kids, food, t-shirts, and possibly a petting zoo. It will be held Saturday, June 19th from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Relying on countless hours of volunteer work, the park was built for about $120,000. That included a $40,000 parks and recreation grant, a large donation from the Northside Sport Fishing Club as well as fundraisers. Now an additional $15,000 is needed for the bathroom project. Durante-Arnold says most of that money will go toward building the bathroom. The rest of the money raised will go into the capital fund that helps pay for the Tot Lot upkeep, which runs just under $200 a month.
The Northside Civic Organization still has to secure permits for the building, but Durante-Arnold doesnt foresee any problems. She says they will follow a simple plan that will include a room with a toilet, while a sink, changing table, and locked supply cabinet will be outside. An architect has made recommendations on where the bathroom should be built.
"After the bathroom is finished, we would like to see a walkway from Sibilly Kindergarten to the park so when students walk from school to the park they are safe. Its getting to be a dangerous road," says Durante-Arnold.
To help reach these goals more quickly, the organization is looking for corporate sponsors and volunteers to work at the fundraiser. The Dorothea Tot Lot is also available for parties for a $25 donation. Call 998-1916 for information.
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