A universally-designed play park for Queens County is inching closer to reality, thanks to a former Liverpool resident who has offered to help move the fundraising efforts along.
“We got a message from a former resident of Liverpool who said they would like to not only do a donation, they would like to do a matching campaign,” said Debbie J. Wamboldt, chair of the play park fundraising team. “They will match donations dollar-for-dollar. At that time [of introduction] we needed $35,000.”
The campaign began August 3 and will continue to September 3. The donor wishes to remain anonymous.
“We’ve been making good gains since then. Now we need about $22,700 to reach our goal, and that leaves $11,350 for us to raise,” said Wamboldt in an interview August 11. “We’re getting close, and we’ve done incredible things before, so I’m confident we can make this happen.”
The fundraising team is looking to raise $450,000 overall. Once that goal has been reached, the hope is that requests for proposals can be sent out in the fall and work can begin in the spring. Raising the full amount prior to moving any further on the project was a stipulation for some of the grants received.
Since the idea for the park was first fielded around 2016, the community has rallied around it, coming up with a variety of fundraising schemes, including Tupperware, yard and craft sales, barbecues, birthday donations, and, the latest, a walking/running fundraiser.
Candace Sprague, a teacher at Dr. John C. Wickwire Academy, came up with the idea of fundraising walks over two weeks in various locations in South Queens.
Children and adults taking part in six events over two weeks at the end of July helped raise $965. The walks wrapped up with a parade in downtown Liverpool August 3.
Some of the participants wanted to go even further. A few of the children subsequently held a pop-up lemonade and treat stand to try and take the total to $1,000. They surpassed that goal for a grand total of $1,068.15.
“People were just coming up with enormous donations and this was absolutely mind-blowing,” said Wamboldt.
According to Wamboldt, despite the pandemic that has left many people struggling, there are those who are continually reaching out with efforts to come up with funds.
“Everybody wants to participate in this and see the park come to life,” said Wamboldt, who anticipates the park will be a game-changer for the community.
“I think the impact, as a place to be able to come, regardless of age or ability, and play together is what’s really going to change things here,” she said.
Kevin McBain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin