Broken playground to be replaced after West Hills community works together to raise funds

When a community came together in East Tennessee, they realized they could conquer anything.
Published: Oct. 5, 2020 at 7:14 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - An East Tennessee community came together with resolve to conquer a big problem.

When their children’s place to play went away, they raised thousands of dollars just to give a kids a new playground.

“Since it doesn’t have the whole playground, it’s kind of boring,” said Matthew Evola, a 4th grader at West Hills Elementary School.

Parents and kids said they felt the existing play area wasn’t up to par.

“The playground was pretty sad looking last year,” said Elizabeth Evola.

As President of the WHES Wolf Pack Foundation, Elizabeth Evola knew it was time for a change, but the lack of opportunity for fun was only the tip of the iceberg.

“There was just a lot of safety issues,” said Elizabeth Evola.

At 15-years-old, the aging playground was plagued with problems including a hole in the slide. Some of the play places weren’t properly anchored, and some didn’t have support poles at all.

The Wolf Pack Foundation starting fundraising efforts, even earning some money from a third-grader.

“I’m hoping to raise money to get new equipment,” said Riley Lewis.

Lewis wanted a new slide, swing, and monkey bars. So she set up a lemonade stand over the summer and collected more than $100. Her parents matched it.

Forty-five thousand dollars have been earned so far, but $55,000 more is needed to meet the goal of $100,000.

Another goal for the new playground included accessibility for all students including those who use a wheelchair.

“Once we get the new playground all kids could have a lot of fun there," said Matthew Evola. “I hope that everybody can enjoy recess as much as they can."

Anyone who wants to donate to the cause can do so on the Wolf Pack Foundation website.

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