Playground plans unveiled for Head Start site

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - LSF has unveiled plans for a new $30,000 playground to be built at the 8th Street Center, one of the Head Start locations the organization now manages.

It comes from a partnership with Westside Church of Christ, which owns the property located at 20 W. Eighth Street.

The new playground construction ensures LSF Head Start safety and that educational standards are met, officials said. It will feature a stand-alone slide, rock tunnel climber, spring rockers, crawl tube and curved balanced beam. The new equipment is also "green." All of the items are PVC-free and made from recyclable materials.

"We are thrilled to collaborate with Westside Church of Christ to ensure that children in this community take advantage of early learning opportunities," said LSF President and CEO Sam Sipes. "LSF is committed to this area and investing in the children's needs on every level. This new playground is just the start."

The 8th Street Center will serve 55 children starting in the fall. Officials said it will provide a number of services, including quality early learning with degreed teachers in a safe environment, nutritious daily meals for the students, and programs designed specifically for fathers.

"We are proud to play a role in helping children start on the right track," said Westside Church of Christ Senior Minister Elisha Taylor Taylor. "We take our responsibility as a community resource very seriously, and continuing to offer Head Start programs helps us do an even better job of empowering families in our neighborhood."

LSF was awarded an $18 million grant to manage Duval County's federally-funded Head Start programs in March. The grant was awarded by the Department of Health and Human Services.

The playground is set for completion by Aug. 18, when Head Start/Early Head Start programs will start in Duval County.

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