Several months ago, the New England Lions club began to raise funds for a new playground at the New England Lions Park. The very limited amount of funds then available included the money the Girl Scouts club had raised, and a grant from Next Era Energy.
An aggressive grant writing campaign sought assistance from 18 foundations and corporations. It was realized that funds actually received would be far less than the amounts requested. To date just 25 percent of the funds requested have been received or committed.
Some of those grants will not be decided until this fall. Some are waiting to see if there will be funds available, due to cutbacks in government programs. Some awarded much less than requested. Some have not responded. Some have been denied.
The original goal was to have the playground in place by mid-summer this year. That will not be possible. The Lions plan to build the playground in two phases, in 2017 and 2018, as funding becomes available.
When the Lions first started thinking about building the playground, it was thought, “If we could come up with $40,000-$50,000 we could probably build a nice playground.” That was before actual costs were researched. It is now known that to provide the equipment really needed, and the base now required, the total cost of the project would be just under $75,000.
The club will work with nationally certified providers and installers, to meet current requirements and safety standards.
Local and area businesses and individuals had not been asked for help. The Lions would determine and seek other funding available first. They now know they need a lot of help.
Major donors will be recognized in news media publications. Plaques will be installed in the park, recognizing various levels of financial support.
For more information, contact Lions funding coordinator Lewellyn Rustan at 579-4347, or send your donations to him at 11696A 73rd Street SW, New England. Make checks payable to “New England Lions Club” with “playground project” on the memo line. Every dollar received will be used for the playground.
Area people, especially folks with young children, enthusiastically welcome the new playground. There is no doubt about the need. The new playground will be appreciated not only by the children playing there, but also their parents. Especially during the Burgers In The Park which attracts crowds far greater than
the current playground which does not meet current standards, can accommodate.
The first Burgers In The Park in the 2017 season will be Tuesday, June 13.
Serving is 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Come see pictures of the proposed playground.