Plans to overhaul Burton Community Park have gained momentum with a $65,000 commitment for the project from the Huntington Woods Men's Club.
The service organization voted during its December meeting to make the park project the beneficiary of its annual Service Auction, which will be held Saturday, March 23, at the Recreation Center.
[Men's Club Service Auction tickets are available at the Recreation Center. Advance purchase is required!]
"It's the biggest and most central park in the community and it has to get redone," Men's Club President Scott Kube said.
The auction proceeds will be used to replace the park's aging, splintering play structure, he said.
The Men's Club will work in concert with the Friends of Burton Community Park, which already has raised $74,000 from the following sources toward its $440,000 goal, FOBCP organizer Susan Witus said.
- Burton Elementary School Parent Teacher Association: $17,000
- Burton student fundraisers: $30,000
- Huntington Woods Women's League: $1,000
- Individual contributions: 4,500 donations ranging from $5 to $2,500
"We've applied for a number of grants and we haven't gotten those. Part of what we need is a big chunk of money to prove we're dedicated," Witus said, explaining why the $65,000 donation will make such an impact on the project's fundraising momentum. "A lot of kudos to the Men's Club. They're just a tremendous service organization."
The new playground will be three times as wide as the current one, comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and be designed to be unattractive to rodents, which are drawn to the current play structure's nooks and crannies.
"People have had some sticker shock with the price tag," but the playground's cost nearly 18 years ago was $250,000 and it was built by community members, Witus said.
She noted signs of revitalization in the neighborhood, with many homes being renovated, and said upgrading the park could help boost real estate values as the city continues to rebound from the recent recession.
Men's Club member Bob Paul, who also serves as a City Commissioner, agreed during Tuesday night's meeting.
"(The park is) something that a lot of families will use and something that we feel will increase the value of every home in Huntington Woods," he said.