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Pinnacle Rubber Mulch Donated to Non-Profit Preschool After Rubber Mulch is Stolen from Playground

PITTSBURGH, November 17, 2011 – When LTR Products, manufacturers of Pinnacle Rubber Mulch, an innovative and eco-friendly alternative to wood mulch for landscapingplaygroundsequestrian areas and training courses, heard about a theft at a small preschool in Madison, Wisconsin, the company wanted to lend a helping hand. St. Bernard Catholic preschool recently discovered that the rubber mulch used as safety surfacing for the school’s playground had been stolen. As a non-profit, the school was not sure if it would be able to replace the rubber mulch due to budget constraints.

“When I heard about what happened, I knew that there was a way we could help,” said Brad Pittam, general manager, LTR Products. “We immediately reached out to the preschool and said that we would be happy to donate our Pinnacle Rubber Mulch for the school’s playground. We hope that our Pinnacle Rubber Mulch will offer a safe place for the school’s students to play for many years to come.”

“On behalf of St. Bernard Catholic preschool, I’d like to thank LTR Products for their generous donation,” said Renee Witke, preschool director. “When the rubber mulch was stolen, we did not know if we had enough money in our budget to replace it, meaning that the kids at our school would no longer have a safe playground to use. With this donation, we can rest assured knowing that we can provide our students with an outdoor play area where they can enjoy fun and fitness.”

LTR Products donated green colored Pinnacle Rubber Mulch to the school for the playground. The mulch will not compress like wood mulch and will remain bright and plush for at least 12 years with minimal maintenance. As a playground safety surface, a six-inch layer of Pinnacle Rubber Mulch will cushion a child’s fall from as high as 16 feet, providing up to 50 percent more fall-height protection than wood mulch using half of the material. Additionally, rubber mulch is non-allergenic, non-toxic and harmless to plants, pets and children. It is also clean, minimizes airborne dust and particles, does not splinter like wood mulch, won’t harbor pests like insects and rodents, and is a green, sustainable product.

Pinnacle Rubber Mulch also offers the preschool an eco-friendly alternative to wood mulch. Rubber mulch helps to save trees from the shredder and provides an outlet for the millions of scrap tires that are collected each year.

Rubber Mulch Donation Makes Pittsburgh-Area Playground a Hit with Local Kids

Braddock Mayor John Fetterman figured it would be a grueling task for a few dozen volunteers to spread 40,000 pounds of rubber mulch across a playground.

He was wrong.

It took 60 volunteers about two hours Friday to distribute the mulch throughout the playground on Braddock Avenue.

“It’s a lot of man hours, but when you have 60 people, you can knock it out,” said Helen Wachter, director of KEYS Service Corps, an AmeriCorps program.

The rubber mulch was donated by Liberty Tire Recycling and Pinnacle Rubber Mulch. Massaro Corp. donated a forklift to get the mulch into the playground.

Miles Loewy, volunteer manager for Heritage Community Initiatives, which helped organize the donations and volunteers for the day, said rubber mulch is low-maintenance and never has to be replaced, just raked occasionally to refresh it, which allows Heritage to “use resources for something else.” The mulch alone was a $10,000 in-kind donation, he said. An additional 40,000 pounds will be donated next year for another project in Braddock, he said.

The 60 KEYS volunteers also sealed a wooden deck and steps that lead down to the playground, planted trees, weeded and mowed grass.

Volunteer C.J. Mitchell’s primary task for the morning was “wheelbarrowing” — hauling the mulch to different areas of the playground.

“I’m actually doing something that makes a difference,” said Mr. Mitchell, 23, a KEYS volunteer who has been in Pittsburgh for 2 1/2 weeks.

Ms. Wachter said the volunteers wanted to “do something good” to mark the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

It’s not their first big project in Braddock. In 2006, KEYS volunteers also helped to make the former First Presbyterian Church in the town a usable space for the community. Ms. Wachter said volunteers put in 1,300 hours in one week to create the now fully renovated Nyia Page Community Center.

“That was an “aha moment” for us,” Ms. Wachter said.

She noted that it’s much easier to complete big, overwhelming projects when lots of volunteers are available.

“Large-scale projects like this can really jump-start change in the community,” she said.

As for the mulch, a group of preschool-age children stopped by Friday morning to test out the new playground surface. They walked uneasily across the thick layer of rubber at first, but quickly got used to the softness.  And children know quality when they see it: One boy dug up a piece of wooden mulch from beneath the rubber and surveyed the two side by side before declaring the new mulch “safer.”

Mr. Fetterman, his face streaked with black smudges from a day of work, agreed as he walked across the mulch.

“You’d have to try really hard to fall on this and hurt yourself,” he said.