CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- For nearly 20 years, Charleston's children have been able to traverse rivers far and wide on the wooden sternwheel house at Celebration Station, the playplace located on the city's East End.
A team of parents is rallying their peers and community members to celebrate the imaginative playground that many have held dear for the last two decades.
The Parent-Teacher Organization of Piedmont Elementary School is hosting a community picnic Sunday as part of its fundraising kickoff to raise money for improvements to the playplace structure, which is just outside the school.
"The need for some renovation and improvement kind of flows from the fact that it has been in such continuous and wonderful use," said PTO President Elizabeth Wehner.
Celebration Station was born out of "love for the community," according to Lesly Messina, President of Imagination Station, Inc. Christ Church United Methodist, which sits just across the street, asked then-Principal Steve Knighton what the school might need.
The hunt for a creative playplace began, as church member Dayton Carpenter spearheaded the search for a company that could deliver, Messina said.
Constructing Celebration Station was a community effort, said Nahla Nimeh-Lewis, an East End resident who helped build the playplace nearly 20 years ago.
"It was the most uplifting experience," Nimeh-Lewis said. "I just absolutely thought it was fabulous."
Nimeh-Lewis recounted the day with a smile on her face, she said by telephone.