Unusual donation source helps build PAL Northside playground

Funds from shuttered private school donated

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Just in time for summer, kids on the Northside will soon have a brand new playground made possible by a unique partnership between the Police Athletic League and a shuttered private school.

PAL received a donation of $150,000 from Hendricks Day School for the new playground.

"There's no better place than PAL," said Sally Lott, the former head of school at Hendricks Day School and former PAL board member. "Children are loving, polite, well cared for."

Lott was head of Hendricks Day School before it closed in 2015. After nearly 50 years, she says the school is continuing its legacy to serve local children. Using what assets and funding the school had left over, it donated $150,000 to build the playground at JaxPAL's Northside center.

"Nowadays, many kids are not playing outside because parents don't feel like it is safe so we're excited to provide a safe environment for the kids," said Lakesha Burton, director of JaxPAL.

In the rain, local officers with PAL, the sheriff and former representatives from Hendricks Day School gathered for the groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday.

"It's also building and supporting not just physical ability, but mental problem solving," Lott said. "The coolest thing ever."

The playground is expected to be completed by the end of June.