WILMINGTON — Wilmington’s next generation will have an updated playground built by the community, for the community.
Parks & Recreation Director Jermaine Isaac and Fundraising Director Kristi Fickert are looking to get as many citizens as possible involved with the revitalization of the new castle playground.
“We’re laying out our plans for fundraising right now and we’re ready to launch kind of our first big fundraiser for the project,” said Isaac.
The project has already received $250,000 of the $500,000 needed from the state.
Isaac told the News Journal they’re hoping to raise the remaining amount from local businesses and groups, while also looking at local and nationwide grant funds, and grassroots fundraisers.
“A lot of the grassroots fundraisers are going to be about helping keep the buzz in the community, as well as keeping the kids engaged who were involvedhelping out with the design of the playground,” he said.
Fickert said they’re also looking at local businesses, and she anticipates a grassroots effort.
“We have families who want to get involved,” said Fickert. “I think there are families like mine that will donate and give as we can, and we think many others will, too.”
Fickert, also a member of Wilmington City Council, said one fundraising tactic they’re using is to get sponsorships for individual sections and components of the playground. Fickert said a business or individual could sponsor an element.
Other fundraising ideas are in the works, including partnering with a local restaurant for a celebrity waiter night with kids serving as waiters. Every tip the kids get would go to the park. They’re also thinking of doing a reverse raffle.
Fickert said there will also be a website to keep locals updated on the fundraising efforts, and on anything else involving the new playground. They’ll also be sharing information on the Wilmington Parks & Rec Facebook page.
When it comes to the construction of the new playground, it’ll be a “hybrid build.”
“Part of the work will be done by contractors who are licensed and can complete certain parts of the work,” said Fickert. “But there are some other elements that the community will build, also.”
The original castle playground — the brainchild of local resident Judy Gano — was built with one contractor and 900 community volunteers who got their hands dirty to complete it. Fickert remembers seeing the locals come out and complete it within a week.
Isaac and Fickert want to have the same sense of community in the construction of this playground — right down to those who’ll be using it the most.
“The kids are really engaged,” said Fickert. “It’s so fun to see and I think it’s really important, because this is going to be around when they’re starting to raise their kids.”
Local kids were involved with the project since almost the beginning, with them contributing ideas to the Parks & Rec Department at Design Days at the schools.
Both Isaac and Fickert are hoping for a similar cycle, and they hope the new park will last longer, given that it’ll be built with newer materials. They will accept any donations and are hoping to have the project completed in 2019.
For information on donating or helping with the park project, contact the Jermaine Isaac at the Parks & Rec Department at 937-382-4781.
Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574