ATLANTIC CITY - Saranne Rothberg is used to things working out.

When she gets a vision, it's already a reality for her. The rest is just a matter of logistics.

But even she seemed shocked Thursday at the support her idea to build a playground on an empty lot her family has owned for decades.

"We're more than bombarded," Rothberg said of the response she received after a story about her plan ran in Thursday's Press of Atlantic City. "It's a tidal wave. Construction workers, electric company presidents, schoolteachers, community service people, social workers, parents. It's pouring in. People want to be part of this thing."

A citation for overgrowth on the land along Arctic Avenue brought the Bergen County woman back to the city where she spent many happy summers as a child. But the littered lot she found being used as a drug den called her to action.

"I want to do something positive," Rothberg said.

Talks with neighbors gave her a vision of a playground. Then she decided to share her story so more could join in. It worked.

"The e-mails are already coming!" she wrote in an excited e-mail Thursday morning.

The size of the response may have surprised Rothberg - but nothing seems to overwhelm her.

Preparing for a flight to a pre-planned charity event, she already started planning for how she would rally the incoming troops when she returns. She will be back in Atlantic City sometime between Sept. 21 and Oct. 7. That's when she'll have a meeting with those who want to join the cause, and has asked for people to RSVP by e-mail to let her know how many to expect.

As for the troubled area. Things are already doing better, she reports.

"Our informal neighborhood community watch that we put together reports the area already is safer," she said. "Police cars are monitoring the lot, so dealers have not resumed their activity in the two weeks since we cleaned up."

E-mail Lynda Cohen:

Anyone who wants to help

Saranne Rothberg wants to know how many people would like to attend a town meeting for the playground project at her lot in Atlantic City. She also said those wishing to help can underwrite a piece of equipment for the proposed park.

Call 888-300-3990, ext. 222 or e-mail

Updates will also be posted on her Web site at:

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