June 21, 2004 – Children rallied on the Northside Saturday. They came to eat, play, and show their support for what is probably the biggest cause so far in their little lives, a place to pee in peace at their favorite play park. The Potty Party held at Dorothea Tot Lot drew a pretty good crowd, but there is still a long way to go before enough money is raised to install a permanent bathroom.
"When you have even 10 or 12 kids at the park you have to have facilities," said Ann Durante-Arnold, president of the Northside Civic Organization. "The park has been a great success. I was thinking we could put a bathroom in down the road, but the need is here now."
For the year that it's been open the Tot Lot has existed without a bathroom, but the rise in attendance has made the issue hard to put off. An architect has drawn up plans to build a simple bathroom behind the existing pavilion, which will be renovated. It would include a small room with a toilet, while a sink, changing table and locked storage cabinet will be placed outside. The bathroom would be locked every night to keep vandals out, just like the gate to the park is. But first, the organization has to raise the money, and thats where the Potty Party fits in.
Children enjoyed playing games like the "Potty Chair Beanbag Toss" for prizes. The carnival atmosphere was rounded out with a face painter, chalk drawing, snow cones and cotton candy. Raffle tickets were also sold. The food and beverages as well as the raffle prizes were donated for the event. Sens. Lorraine Berry and Louis Patrick Hill attended the Potty Party to show their support.
Although Durante-Arnold considers the day a success, the $15,000 benchmark still has not been reached. Now the Northside Civic Organization is looking for donations in platinum, gold, silver and bronze categories, at $1000, $500, $250, and $150. The donors would be recognized with plaques placed at the Tot Lot. Durante-Arnold says a large portion of the money would be used for the bathroom, with the rest going to maintenance and long term care of the property. Durante-Arnold says they have considered alternatives like porta-potties, but the cost, about $400 a month, is too high for the Tot Lots slim operating budget.
"Were looking at the big picture," says Durante-Arnold. "Eventually we would like to see a sidewalk put in from the Tot Lot to the school (Sibilly Kindergarten), cross lines for the traffic, and signs put up for children playing."
To make a donation or use the Tot Lot for a party, call 998-1916.
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