Harmony Park Project needs to raise $80,000 more
Pantagraph - 8/31/2018
Aug. 31--BLOOMINGTON -- Another $80,000 is needed to reach a $300,000 funding goal to construct the Twin Cities' first inclusive playground where children with different abilities could play together.
A collaborative partnership between four local nonprofit organizations -- Max's Miles Foundation, the Bloomington-Normal Jaycees, Marcfirst and Autism McLean -- has been spearheading the Harmony Park Project fundraising campaign.
Their goal is to develop the first fully inclusive playground in Bloomington-Normal at Rollingbrook Park on the city's east side.
The partnership has raised $220,000 to pay for a special rubberized surface accessible to wheelchairs or mobility devices. Specially equipped merry-go-round and swings, sensory panels and fencing to enclose the playground also are envisioned.
"We are hoping to have raised $50,000 more by the end of the year. The $50,000 will secure our ability to build the playground this spring," said Corin Chapman, co-founder of Max's Miles Foundation. "An additional $30,000 will be needed for fencing following the initial installation of the playground."
"At this point we've been almost entirely funded by a combination of donations from nonprofits, grants and personal individualized contributions," said Chapman.
The business community has contributed less than 5 percent of the total amount raised, Chapman noted.
"For a private/public partnership to work we need additional support from the private businesses within our community," she said. "We are hoping that we can garner their support as we push to meet our fundraising goals by the end of the year."
The city of Bloomington has pledged $85,000 to the project, which was the amount that had been allocated to replace the Rollingbrook Park playground with standard equipment.
The project also has received $50,000 from the Kiwanis Club of Bloomington and a $25,000 State Farm Neighborhood Assist grant. The Illinois Prairie Community Foundation general grants program has awarded $4,979 and the Youth Engaged in Philanthropy program is providing $1,000.
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Other donations have come from Autism McLean and from money through Jaycees' Bruegala fundraising events.
Several fundraising events are planned.
The Gingerbread House toy store, 915 E. Washington St., is selling $2 raffle tickets to benefit the project. The winner of the shopping spree will be picked Friday.
The Harmony Park Project Family 5K and 1 Mile Fun Run will kick off at 9 a.m.Sept. 8 at Tipton Park in Bloomington. Participants can register online at https://runsignup.com/Race/IL/Bloomington/HarmonyParkProject. Registration fees are $30 for the 5K and $20 for the fun run.
Other fundraising events will be posted on the project's website https://www.harmonyparkproject.org or Facebook page as they are developed.
Donations can be made with a credit card online at: https://www.harmonyparkproject.org/donate. Checks made out to "Illinois Prairie Community Foundation," with "Harmony Park Project" written in the memo line, can be sent to Illinois Prairie Community Foundation, 2401 E. Washington St., Suite 300B, Bloomington, IL 61701.
Contact Maria Nagle at (309) 820-3244. Follow her on Twitter: @Pg_Nagle
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