Dewitt gets grant for playground mulch

Children at a Knox County elementary school will soon have a nicer playground than ever before.

Officials with The Energy and Environment Cabinet (EEC) today announced that $404,599 in grant funding has been awarded for one landscaping project and 39 playground projects.

Among that funding is $19,832 approved for a new playground at Dewitt Elementary.

Principal Marcie Walker said she is happy about the grant. “That is awesome,” she said.  

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Walker said the school also received a previous $15,000 grant for new playground equipment, adding that this latest grant will be used for purchase of a crumb rubber surface for the playground.

She noted that the staff and parents have been actively raising money to match the $15,000 grant, adding that school officials have raised roughly $8,000 toward the match. “Our goal is to have that match by August and have the project complete by December,” she said.

“We are very excited. The teachers and staff have been doing a lot of hard work to raise this money,” Walker said.

Crumb rubber, made from recycled scrap tires, is used for mulch on playgrounds to enhance durability and safety; for fitness/walking tracks; for landscaping, and on athletic fields to reduce soil degradation and increase safety benefits.

EEC Secretary Len Peters said the crumb rubber grants program encourages environmental stewardship. “The Energy and Environment Cabinet is pleased to support these projects that will use recycled Kentucky waste tires in an environmentally beneficial way and will enhance playground safety for our children across the Commonwealth.”

The grants are from the Waste Tire Trust Fund, established by the 1998 Kentucky General Assembly to receive a $1 fee from each retail sale of a new tire in the state. The fund manages approximately 4 million scrap tires generated in Kentucky each year and helps develop markets for recycled tire products. Recipients, along with grant amounts, are as follows: