Project Playground

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$10k raised in first month of fund drive for age appropriate equipment at FRVP

By Becky Barnes

They could have stormed City Hall and demanded that an injustice be righted, but with local governments struggling to maintain existing services, a group of young mothers have taken a different approach.

Sixteen months ago, Rebecca and Stephen McCauley welcomed their first child, Eleanor, into their lives.

It didn’t take long after that for the new parents to realize no playground equipment exists for toddlers at any of the public parks in Cynthiana. In fact, the new equipment at Flat Run Veterans’ Park (FRVP) is suited for ages 5 to 11 years old.

In July, Project Playground was formed and in less than one month the mothers have raised $10,000 toward their $40,000 goal.

Committee members for the Project Playground are: McCauley, Cassie Moses, Codye McCann, Emily Ammerman, Mandy Gossett-Thornton, and Jennifer Gossett.

“We realized we all have young children and that it was up to us,” Rebecca McCauley said of developing a toddler area at FRVP.

Their first order of business was to meet with playground equipment companies to see what kind of money was needed.

“That was an eye-opening experience,” McCauley said.

The cost for one swing, which would include the equipment, the ground cover and installation, is $625.

That’s what helped establish the $40,000 goal.

“The response has been great,” McCauley said, noting that money has come from individuals and businesses and from $25 to $1,000. “Whatever anyone can put in, that’s what they’ve donated.”

McCauley said the women have been fueled by the fact that people are seeking them out and asking questions about how and where to donate.

“No one ever said ‘Where can we go to complain?’ Everyone was saying ‘What can we do to help?’” she said.

What the women would like to see at the park is equipment for children 3 to 24 months, swings, teeter-totters.

The goal is to have the money in place within 18  months.

“I know it’s a lofty goal, but if everyone pitches in, we should make it,” McCauley said.

She said she first started talking with other mothers and grandmothers about the park. She soon determined that she was not alone in seeing the need.

“I talked to one grandmother whose 2-year-old grandson came to visit and went to the park to swing, play and have a picnic. When they got there, there were no swings and no equipment suitable for his age. So they had to turn around and go home,” McCauley said. “The stories like this were overwhelming.”

Anyone interested in helping may send their tax-deductible donations to Cynthiana Arts Council--Project Playground at 310 E. Pike St., Cynthiana, 41031.

 More information about the project and upcoming fundraising events can be found on their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ProjectPlaygroundCynthiana.