September 18, 2014
Kathy Steele often peeked through the window of her school administration office to watch children play at the Hose Elementary School playground. Now the retired Crawfordsville school superintendent can walk down the street from her home and see children enjoying a playground named after her.
The Crawfordsville Park and Recreation Department dedicated the Old Mill School playground in Steele’s honor Wednesday evening.
“I see kids here every day when I walk my dog, and even more have come since the improvements were made,” Steele said of the playground. “It’s wonderful for children to have an opportunity to play in this neighborhood.”
The park is only half a block from Steele’s house. In fact, Steele used to bring her son Matt to the park when he was younger.
The park dedication resulted from cooperation between the city of Crawfordsville and the Crawfordsville School Corporation, which donated the land. School officials wanted to see the former elementary school continue to serve children, and the parks department carried out that desire by improving playground equipment. More playground equipment will be installed in the future.
Steele announced her retirement in the midst of the park planning process, which prompted the city to honor her 43 years of educating the community.
“If you think about how many people have been educated under her watch, you can tell she has had a huge impact on the community,” Mayor Todd Barton said. “She is a leader and has always been focused on improving the lives of children. Having a park named after her only makes sense.”
Despite her retirement, Steele has not slowed down. She is currently writing grants for Athens Arts and the Montgomery County Community Foundation, in addition to watching over the youth at the playground.
“Once you are an educator, you are an educator for life,” Steele said. “It’s something that doesn’t stop, and I am glad about that.”