By: Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times
The Carter County Kiwanis are doing their part to help make sure the children of Grayson will have a nice playground when the Grayson Sports Park opens its gates. The group met with sports park manager Grant Harper during their regular meeting last Wednesday, the first since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down businesses and community groups earlier this year.
President Willis Johnson, Harper and other Kiwanis members discussed grant opportunities that might be open to the park through the Kiwanis organization. One of the grants looked at could award the park up to $25,000 for playground equipment, but required the park to spend at least $50,000 to qualify for the grant. Harper assured Johnson that this wouldn’t be an issue. The original specs for the playground priced equipment at around $95,000.
Harper said the park has been working with a company called Landscape Structures to explore options for the park’s playground. He explained one reason they are working with that company is because of their wide variety of items that offer “inclusive playground equipment” options, so no child is unable to enjoy the playground.
Harper said that, in addition to the playground, the park is looking at other alternative funding sources to fund things like the sprayground and other amenities.
“As of right now, there is nothing in the original plan that we’re not going to do,” Harper said.
He explained that he is also working with FIVCO and AEP to secure grants for other items and amenities as well.
Johnson explained that the grant being applied for through Kiwanis had a due date of September 10, and could be voted on by Kiwanis members between September 14 and 27. Kiwanis members will be able to log in and vote for the project once per day during that time period. The winner of the grant would be announced around October 7.
He also encouraged Harper to continue seeking other grant opportunities through various national foundations, and offered the support of Kiwanis in doing so.
“Need is the number one thing,” Johnson said. “Community partnership is number two.”
He also encouraged Harper to reach out to Carter County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Ronnie Dotson, for a “testimonial statement” on the impact an inclusive playground could have on the community.
Johnson also gave a report on computer donations for Carter County Schools. He noted that the organization had given away five each at Olive Hill Elementary, Prichard, and Heritage, and would be donating to Star, Upper Tygart and Carter City elementary schools as soon as time permitted.
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