Vandals burned $50,000 worth of playground equipment Sept. 12. (Photo courtesy Providence Family Support Center)

After vandals burned its $50,000 playground on Sept. 12, Providence Family Support Center in Brightwood is already looking to rebuild.

The center, according to staff member Tina Fedko, has already begun a major fundraising drive to replace the destroyed equipment. On Sept. 14, staff sent an e-mail blast to “community friends” including donors, organizations and churches asking for financial support.

Later this week, the center hopes to approach the organizations who gave it the grants for the now-destroyed playground. It will also approach local politicians and individual donors.

As of Wednesday, Sept. 15, the Pittsburgh arson squad was still investigating and no information was available on the vandals, but Fedko said the use of an accelerant is suspected.

Once they build a new playground, which Fedko said will not happen before spring 2011, they will post “no trespassing” signs and ensure the gates are locked. In the meantime, the center will add security cameras to the front and back of its building at 3113 Brighton Road.

“We want to try to make it original, fresh and new for the kids,” Fedko said. “We want to be really proactive. We’re not going to sit and let vandalism take over this center.”

Nor will staff hide the vandalism from the children they serve. On Sept. 14, they showed a few older children what happened to the playground.

Fedko said the center is fortunate to have an all-purpose field in which the children can play while the weather is still nice.

“We just really need help now, and it’s all for the kids,” Fedko said. “It’s for the Northside families.”

In order to make a donation to the Providence Family Support Center to help it rebuild its playground, send a check to Providence Connections, c/o Playground Fund, 3113 Brighton Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15212, or make a donation online at www.providenceconnections.org.

The playground before it was destroyed. (Photo courtesy Providence Family Support Center)