Fundraising begins for splash pad, restrooms in Carson City

By Cory Smith • Last Updated 11:59 am on Monday, May 01, 2017

From left,ErikiaMcCracken, Tabitha Keiffer, Kindel Keiffer, Carson City Councilman Chad Parmenter, Trenton Churchill, Paige Churchill and Nora Ryan, stand together as part of a new community group to raise funds for a new splash pad and restrooms at West Park in Carson City. — Courtesy photo

CARSON CITY — In preparation for potential park enhancements, members of the community are coming together to begin fundraising efforts.

Earlier this year, members of the Carson City Council moved forward with submitting a grant request through the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Land and Water Conservation Fund.

The city is hopeful it will receive a grant as high as $150,000, to be used for a new splash pad and restrooms at West Park. If approved, the city would be required to match the grant in the full amount, which would result in an estimated total of $300,000 for the project.

Inspired by past community efforts to raise funds, Carson City resident Nora Ryan has spearheaded an effort to form a group of citizens with a goal to raise the needed $150,000 in matching funds.

“We definitely want that feature added to our park,” she said. “Right now it’s so nice to have features like Fort Frontier there, but by adding another feature to it, and adding the restrooms, that’s a big thing for that park and this community.”

Ryan said she is confident the community can come together to raise the matching funds and described the new effort as a two-year process.

The DNR will not release its decision on the grant request until Dec. 1, but in the meantime, Ryan and members of the fundraising group have already established a kick-off fundraising event to be held at this year’s Frontier Days Festival, which occurs the first weekend in June.

“We’ll be hosting a pancake breakfast Saturday morning (June 3),” she said. “We’re also going to have an entry in the parade. We really just need to get the information out to the community of what the (splash pad and restroom) plan is. We want to get the community involved and let them see that things are happening with the money they are donating.”

Carson City Councilman Chad Parmenter said he is excited to see the community step up to back the project.

“They are off and running. The council is excited,” he said. “We’ve got the community behind us and ready to kick off work on raising the money and help fund the project so we can make things even nicer than what we are planning.”

In an online survey of residents performed by the city, restrooms were the highest requested park improvement requested, with the splash pad coming in second.

“I truly feel that having another piece of park equipment that families can come to and play with, to enjoy a nice weekday in the summer … that’s hugely important to our city and our businesses,” Parmenter said. “I truly think it’s going to pull members of other communities into our community, which is a win-win for our community.”

The fundraising group has already held a few meetings and has determined that it will also turn the next Community Concert in March 2018 as a fundraiser for the park improvements.

“I attended one meeting and the one thing I’m excited about is how creative this community group is, and how gung-ho and community-oriented they are. They are excited,” Parmenter said.

For more information about the fundraising project, contact Carson City Hall at (989) 584-3515.

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