Work begins on a new playground in Concord

Concord Rotary Club members marked the official start of construction last week on the club-sponsored Everybody Plays Playground at McGee Park, off Cabarrus Avenue.

The playground will feature slides, swings and other equipment adapted to children and others with disabilities, including those with ambulatory, vision, auditory, speech and learning impairments. Equipment for able-bodied children is also in the playground's design.

Work is expected to be complete in August, Concord Rotary Club member Tim Vaughn said.

The club held last week's groundbreaking ceremony after raising about $110,000 to build the playground. Financial contributions came from club members, a grant from Rotary District 7680, private foundation grants and a club fundraiser.

"We anticipated that it would take two to three years to raise enough money to pay for the playground," club president J.C. McKenzie said in announcing the start of construction. "But we raised the necessary funds in just one year through the tremendous support of club members and the community."

The Concord City Council approved construction of the playground at the city-owned park in 2009. The city will provide ongoing maintenance of the playground equipment through the Parks & Recreation Department.

Clearwater project earns award for innovation

Clearwater Manufacturing on June 24 earned the 2010 Regional Advanced Manufacturing Award for "Best Innovation Project" for companies with up to 49 employees.

The Huntersville-based company won for introducing an environmentally friendly mini-water bottling machine the size of a refrigerator.

The Boomerang Water Bottling System boasts zero waste by reusing glass and aluminum bottles that are returned after use.

The machine sanitizes the bottles, fills them with purified water and caps them at the rate of six bottles per minute, up to 3,000 bottles per day. The system reduces CO {-2} emissions by 20 times after the first use, company officials said.

Boomerang provides colleges, universities, corporate campuses and sports arenas the ability to bottle their own water, custom brand it and make higher profits with zero landfill contribution.

Lowe's donates playground to athletic complex

The Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation awarded the town a $9,500 grant to buy and install a playground unit and surfacing that's safe for children to play on, during Phase I construction of the Westmoreland Athletic Complex.

The foundation is the charitable arm of Mooresville-based home improvement retailer Lowe's Companies Inc.

The athletic complex is being built off Westmoreland Road and West Catawba Avenue.

Community college dedicates $9 million building

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College dedicated a $9 million classroom building last week that features everything from computer labs for people furthering their educations to a mock jail cell for detention officer training.

Building 400 will house programs to train police, fire and emergency workers and entry-level health-care workers.

It will offer workforce development and continuing and corporate education programs, as well as pre-college studies, often a first-stop for displaced workers returning to school. Specialized classrooms will include ones for nurse aide and phlebotomy training.

The building also has an aerobics and weight room for public safety training.

The building is at 1333 Jake Alexander Blvd., off Interstate 85 Exit 75. It is the college's first North Campus building in about 30 years, officials said.

The 39,000-square-foot building is also the college's first to be LEED-certified by the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design.

The state paid about $5.2million of the building costs and Rowan County nearly $3.7million.