Wilma might shift TV focus on playground
ABC planned to air a show on the memorial playground on Sunday.
By EDDY RAMIREZ
Published October 21, 2005
HOMOSASSA - It might be a while longer before Tampa Bay area viewers can get a televised look at the Jessica Lunsford Memorial Playground. If so, blame Hurricane Wilma.
The much-publicized Sunday night broadcast featuring the memorial playground might be postponed if Hurricane Wilma hits anywhere in Florida over the weekend, said Lexington Homes regional manager Ed Frenette.
Frenette said ABC network executives will decide today whether to move forward with plans to air the hourlong show titled Extreme Makeover: Playground Edition.
"The playground is done; my only concern is that if the hurricane hits Florida, the (show's airing) will be canceled," Frenette said.
Lexington Homes has coordinated the project from the start, generating much talk about the playground, which was built at Homosassa Elementary School and named in honor of the slain Homosassa third-grader.
The project is the culmination of the work of Jessica's father, Mark Lunsford, and the donations of area businesses and individuals.
Crews and volunteers have been busy all week long, putting the finishing touches on the playground. On Saturday, the school's old playground equipment lay on the ground, replaced by shiny slides and several new sets.
The work on the playground is now complete, Frenette said.
But he said ABC News would not be able to send a crew Sunday to take live shots of the playground if Hurricane Wilma pummels Florida. All news crews would likely be deployed to cover the storm, Frenette said.
Lexington Homes also built a home for a man shot and blinded in a RadioShack shooting late last year in Pinellas County as a segment of the ABC television show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.
The local ABC Action News channel has been soliciting donations for the project; the Chrysler Championship PGA golf tournament has pledged to add 30 percent to all donations.
Officials said about $40,000 is still needed. The project cost $130,000 to $150,000.
Eddy Ramirez can be reached at email@example.com or 860-7305.
[Last modified October 21, 2005, 02:15:38]
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