Placentia playground improvement fund $50,000 richer
Wayne John Searle Memorial Recreation Complex big winner in online vote
The news was almost too good to be true for Shyla Power, who has put in a lot of hours volunteering with others to help spruce up the Wayne John Searle Memorial Recreation Complex in Placentia.
Members of the Southeast Playground Improvement Committee learned last Monday their group was among the 15 grand prize winners for the 2015 Aviva Community Fund. That means they’ll receive $50,000 to go towards the purchase of new playground equipment. The good news was made public two days later on Wednesday.
“We had 1,600 people in our voting group who had all been wondering about it, so it was really hard to keep it under wraps,” Power told The Compass Wednesday afternoon, minutes after Aviva Canada announced publicly who were the winners.
The committee of eight has worked hard over the last couple of years to raise funds to give the playground new life, with $20,000 raised so far. The additional $50,000 will bring them closer to the $80,000 needed for the equipment.
“We have a couple of more little fundraisers planned over the next few months, but we’re hoping to start the playground in the spring,” said Power, who added she hopes it will be ready to open properly in the summer.
Despite an increase in the number of young families moving into the neighbourhood, the aging playground equipment was not getting used much.
In addition to those who voted to help the project move on to the final round of voting, Power acknowledged the support of Town of Placentia facilities manager Rhonda Power, who helped the committee with organizing fundraisers and selling tickets.
The makeover project for the park was a grand prize winner in the community health category, and it wasn’t the lone beneficiary in this province. The St. John’s Farmers’ Market was also awarded $50,000 to help move into a new location.
Residents of Placentia will likely see new playground equipment at the Wayne John Searle Memorial Recreation Complex next year thanks to a community grant competition.
Wayne John Searle Memorial Recreation Complex is named after a Placentia man who died in 2002 at the age of 21.