Volunteers complete new Williamston playground

Some were lifelong Williamston residents. Some helped build the McCormick Park playground. Some recently moved to Williamston. All of the more than 70 volunteers who came to Volunteers Community Park had one goal: a new playground. They dug holes, tightened bolts, shoveled mulch and more July 25 to July 27.

“I chose to volunteer because this was an opportunity to give back to the community that has given so much to my family,” stated volunteer Amanda Gailitis, mother of two. “I enjoyed the experience and connecting with others in the community. I am proud of the beautiful space our community will be able to enjoy for years to come.” 

The $70,000 project at the corner of Putnam and School streets includes a play structure, four swings, a Ten Spin, and a Tri Totter. The work was completed under the supervision of Juan Bradford, community build supervisor for Miracle Midwest, the playground equipment manufacturer.

“You had a dedicated crew that worked extremely hard all weekend,” he said. “I hope everyone had a good time and will have fond memories of this build.”

While the installation was taking place, daycare provider Beth Fryer walked by with several children and watched the progress. “It will be so nice to have a park on this side of town, and not have to cross Grand River Avenue,” she commented, adding that the kids she cares for will be “park angels” and pick up trash and help take care of the space.

Volunteers Community Park is owned by the City of Williamston and featured a playground for many years until the equipment became unsafe due to age and deterioration.

Organized by the Friends of Williamston Parks, the project was funded by private donations, grants and fundraising events. Major donors include Beck Mobile Concrete, Capital Region Community Foundation, Dart Foundation, Elliott Food Equipment, Todd and Gillian Granger, Old Nation Brewing Company/FeelGoodTap, Red Oak Foundation, Stevens Construction & Excavating, Williamston Kiwanis and Williamston Sunrise Rotary.

The City of Williamston will reopen the park once it completes the concrete border around the playground in the next week. After that, all the new equipment will be accessible. For more information about the Friends of Williamston Parks, visit www.williamstonparks.org.

Williamston community leaders break ground on new playground

Williamston community leaders broke ground today on a new playground at Volunteers Community Park, located at 101 School Street on the south side of Williamston. The $70,000 project includes four elements: a play structure, four swings, a Ten Spin, and a Tri Totter. Designed for ages 2 to 12, the equipment offers a wide variety of play and movement experiences—to swing, bounce, slide, climb, jump and spin.

More than 75 volunteers will install the playground on July 25, 26 and 27 as part of a community build effort under the supervision of a Miracle Midwest playground equipment representative.

“We are thrilled to bring a new playground back to Volunteers Community Park,” stated Williamston Mayor Tammy Gilroy. “This would not have been possible with the strong public/private partnerships we have and the dedicated volunteers in this community.”

The project was funded by private donations, grants and fundraising events. Major donors include Capital Region Community Foundation, Dart Foundation, Elliott Food Equipment, Todd and Gillian Granger, Old Nation Brewing Company/FeelGoodTap, Red Oak Foundation, Stevens Construction & Excavating, Williamston Kiwanis and Williamston Sunrise Rotary.

For more information about the Friends of Williamston Parks, visit www.williamstonparks.org.

FOWP Seeks Volunteers to Build New Playground

With the help of 75 volunteers, there will be a new playground coming to Williamston in July. Friends of Williamston Parks seeks volunteers to participate in a community build, in which volunteers assemble the playground under a supervisor from the playground equipment company, Miracle. The new playground will be located at the City of Williamston’s Volunteers Community Park on the corner of School and Putnam streets.

The build dates are July 25, 26 and 27. Volunteers need to be at least 18 years old and able to work a minimum of a half-day shift. To volunteer for the playground community build, contact Heather Galecka at 517-285-7607, email williamstonparks@gmail.com or register at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/30e0c4ca5a92fa0ff2-community .

The playground will encompass an area approximately 85 by 50 feet next to the Trent Allen Memorial Basketball Courts. It features four elements for ages 2 and up offering opportunities to swing, slide, climb, hang, balance, spin and bounce.

The Friends of Williamston Parks began in 2015 to focus on park improvement efforts in the Williamston area. For more information about the Friends of Williamston Parks, visit www.williamstonparks.org.

FOWP Brings Euchre to Red Cedar Jubilee

The Friends of Williamston Parks (FOWP) will host a euchre tournament on Wednesday, June 19 in the Lions Club’s Food and Beverage Tent during Williamston’s Red Cedar Jubilee. Buy-in begins at 7 p.m. and play starts at 7:30 p.m. The cost is $10 per person.

Food and beverages will be available for purchase from the Lions. The tournament will be located in the northwest corner of the tent. The event will feature a 50-50 drawing and other prizes. All proceeds will go toward funding a new playground at Volunteers Community Park located at the corner of Putnam and School streets in Williamston.

The Friends of Williamston Parks began in 2015 to focus on park improvement efforts. For more information about the Friends of Williamston Parks or the euchre tournament, visit www.williamston parks.org or e-mail williamstonparks@gmail.com. and Beverage Tent during Williamston’s Red Cedar Jubilee. Buy-in begins at 7 p.m. and play starts at 7:30 p.m. The cost is $10 per person.

FOWP Meets Fundraising Goal for New Playground

With the help of donations from Williamston Sunrise Rotary and Dart Foundation, the Friends of Williamston Parks (FOWP) has met its fundraising goal to build a new playground at Volunteers Community Park on the corner of School and Putnam streets in Williamston. Installation of the playground is tentatively set for late July and will take place as a community build, in which volunteers assemble the playground under a supervisor from the playground equipment company, Miracle.

“Local parks play an important role in the vitality and well-being of a community, and safe playgrounds are an important component,” said Emily L. Matthews, Dart Foundation Manager. “The Dart Foundation is pleased to help support the Friends of Williamston Parks and their efforts to improve this space for children and their parents.”

The playground will encompass an area approximately 85 by 50 feet next to the Trent Allen Memorial Basketball Courts. It features four elements for ages 2 and up offering opportunities to swing, slide, climb, hang, balance, spin and bounce. Costs to complete this project total $70,000.

According to incoming President Brian Tort, Williamston Sunrise Rotary will contribute a portion of its Jubilee Duck ticket sales to the playground project. “The new playground will make an immediate positive impact on Williamston's south side, bringing added quality of life, recreation and value to the surrounding neighborhoods,” he added.

According to Heather Galecka, president of Friends of Williamston Parks, “The Rotary pledge and Dart Foundation grant allowed us to meet our goal and make the playground a reality this summer. We are so grateful to them and the other community organizations, businesses and individuals who have contributed to this cause.”

The Friends of Williamston Parks began in 2015 to focus on park improvement efforts in the Williamston area. To volunteer for the playground community build, contact Heather Galecka at 517-285-7607 or williamstonparks@gmail.com. For more information about the Friends of Williamston Parks, visit www.williamstonparks.org.

Friends of Williamston Parks 2018 Annual Report

Friends of Williamston Parks took many steps in 2018 toward its current goal of building a new playground at Volunteers Community Park, a City greenspace located next to The Commons on School Street. With grants from Williamston Kiwanis, Williamston Sunrise Rotary and the Red Oak Foundation in 2017, combined with additional support from the Capital Region Community Foundation and Old Nation Brewing Company/Feel Good Tap in 2018, FOWP has raised the matching funds necessary for the DNR Recreation Passport Grant. FOWP worked with the City of Williamston to apply for this grant in 2017 and came in 5 points behind the organizations receiving the grant. Making a few changes and updates, we reapplied in 2018 and are hopeful we will receive the funds, which will be announced in late December 2018 or early 2019. If we are not awarded the DNR grant of $59,200, we have identified additional grants to seek in early 2019. Several private individual donors also have contributed to the effort.

In May, FOWP held a Play-a-thon at McCormick Park to raise awareness of the playground project and get kids involved in raising money for it. Many organizations provided activities and donated services to make the day of music, activities, demonstrations and a variety of play options a success. Area kids and families raised more than $2,000 for the project. FOWP also participated in Williamston’s National Night Out in August.

As part of the 2018 Red Cedar Jubilee festivities, Cindy Bennett was recognized as FOWP Member of the Year for her lead role in organizing the Play-a-thon for the Parks. She also ensures the group's finances are in order by serving as treasurer and manages the Friends of Williamston Parks' Facebook page.

Families continue to enjoy supporting park improvement efforts by sponsoring fence slats around the wooden play structure at McCormick Park. FOWP recently started an effort to catalog the names on the slats so there is a record of those who have invested in the playground. This will allow us to properly replace damaged or missing slats as needed.

Another large project involved taking the first steps to becoming an independent nonprofit organization. Since its inception in 2015, FOWP has been operating under the umbrella of the Williamston Area Beautification Fund. WABF has provided invaluable support to FOWP and has allowed us to accomplish much in a short period of time. While WABF will continue to have a presence on the FOWP board, independent 501(c)(3) status will strengthen FOWP’s fundraising capabilities and eliminate some confusion about the organization.

In 2019, efforts will continue to make the Volunteers Community Park playground a reality. We also will focus on increasing our volunteer corps to call on for various needs and improving communication about FOWP initiatives with communities surrounding the City of Williamston.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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City seeks input on parks and recreation plan

The City of Williamston is seeking public input as it updates the Five-Year Parks and Recreation Master Plan. They are eager to hear your ideas about the programs, services, and facilities that the city offers. The survey is anonymous and will take just a few minutes to complete. The survey can be filled out online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Williamstonpandrsurvey.

Thank you for your participation!

Capital Region Community Foundation Grant Supports Playground Project

The new playground at Volunteers Community Park in Williamston has come a bit closer to reality with a $10,000 Community Impact Grant from the Capital Region Community Foundation (CRCF). Friends of Williamston Parks (FOWP) and the Williamston Area Beautification Fund (WABF) were one of 14 recipients to be awarded funds from an initial pool of 52 applicants.

“We are happy to help support the Volunteers Community Park Playground in Williamston with one of our 2018 Impact Grants,” said CRCF Director of Programs Pauline Pasch. “Outdoor spaces where residents can gather and actively engage with one another are crucial for a community’s wellbeing. This park and the dedication of Friends of Williamston Parks will give our region more places to join together and become a thriving, vibrant community where we are proud to live.”             

The Lansing-based foundation helps nonprofits in Clinton, Eaton and Ingham counties. According to FOWP member Heather Galecka, “The CRCF grant assures we have matching funds in place to take advantage of additional grant opportunities. The new playground will cost about $75,000 to complete, and this grant is a big step toward our goal.”

Adjacent to the popular basketball courts and next to The Commons, the 85-foot by 50-foot playground area will feature four elements: a play structure featuring slides and climbing options, four swings, a Ten Spin that allows you to stand, kneel or sit while spinning, and a Tri Totter which provides three children the opportunity to bounce at the same time. 

 

 For more information about Friends of Williamston Parks, visit www.williamstonparks.org. To make a general donation to the playground project, mail checks payable to WABF (memo: FOWP) to PO Box 116, Williamston, MI 48895 or via PayPal at williamstonparks@gmail.com.

Congratulations Play-a-thon Winners

Congratulations to the following Play-a-thon participants for their efforts to raise money for the new playground at Volunteers Community Park.

Ages 0 - 4: John/Emma Perelli (tie): Toddler toy basket and free birthday party at Victory Martial Arts
K - 2nd grade: Ian Gillespie: New bike and free birthday party at Victory Martial Arts
3rd - 5th grade: Jacob/Ari Medina: Dick's gift card and free birthday party at Victory Martial Arts
3rd - 5th grade: Vayla Chapman: 6-month membership to Victory Martial Arts
Team Middle School: Travis Genske: free summer camp at Victory Martial Arts
Winner
of the Kindle Fire: Everleigh Carls

The Play-a-thon for the Parks was daylong event on Saturday, May 19 at McCormick Park in Williamston. More than $2,500 was raised. This event was supported by D&W Fresh Market, Old Nation Brewing Company, Williamston Sunrise Rotary, Williamston Kiwanis, Victory Martial Arts, Groovy Donuts and WESPTSA.

2018 Play-a-thon set for May 19 - Kids encouraged to register

What’s better than a full day to just play? It’s when one is playing for a good cause. The Play-a-thon for the Parks is a daylong event on Saturday, May 19 at McCormick Park in Williamston. From 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., it will feature food, music, special activities and nonstop play, all to raise money for a new playground.

Friends of Williamston Parks has teamed up with The Get Movin’ Crew© to fund a new playground at Volunteers Community Park next to The Commons. Families should register their kids at www.thegetmovincrew.com and select Friends of Williamston Parks as the school. This tool allows parents to help their kids raise money via e-mail and social media.

“We are excited to get kids of all ages involved in making this new playground a reality. It is important that they register for the event at www.thegetmovincrew.com website,” said organizer Cindy Bennett. “We will have many fun activities planned throughout the day to encourage hours of outdoor play. Kids are welcome to play for an hour or all day.”

Some of the special things planned are classes and a demonstration from Victory Martial Arts, learn to fish opportunity from the Michigan United Conservation Clubs, story times from Capital Area District Library, music, rides from M&M ponies, free hot dogs from D&W, donuts from Groovy Donuts, and root beer from Old Nation. Giant games, bubbles, coloring, crafts and other activities will be going on throughout the day.   

All kids who register online and raise $10 will be entered in a raffle to win a new Kindle Fire. Plus, top earners from each age group also will be awarded prizes. The goal is to raise $15,000.  

It is open to all kids, no matter age or school they attend. Donations also may be brought to the park on the day of the event.

For a complete schedule of activities and event updates, visit www.williamstonparks.org. To volunteer, e-mail williamstonparks@gmail.com or contact Cindy Bennett at 517-899-2731. This Friends of Williamston Parks event is supported by D&W Fresh Market, Old Nation Brewing Company, Williamston Sunrise Rotary, Williamston Kiwanis, Victory Martial Arts, Groovy Donuts and WESPTSA.

 

2018 Play-a-thon Registration Now Open

Friends of Williamston Parks has teamed up with The Get Movin’ Crew© for the 2018 Play-a-thon for the Parks on May 19 at McCormick Park. Families should register their kids at www.thegetmovincrew.com and select Friends of Williamston Parks as the school. This tool allows parents to help their kids raise money via e-mail and social media. All donations will go toward a new playground at Volunteers Community Park next to The Commons.

All students who register online and raise $10 will be entered in a raffle to win a new Kindle Fire. Plus, top earners from each age group also will be awarded prizes. The goal is to raise $15,000.  

Featuring food, music, special activities and nonstop play, the Play-a-thon for the Parks will run from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Kids are encouraged to secure pledges for the number of hours they plan to play. It is open to all kids, no matter age or school they attend. Donations also may be brought to park on the day of the event.

For a complete schedule of activities and event updates, visit www.williamstonparks.org. To volunteer, e-mail williamstonparks@gmail.com or contact Cindy Bennett at 517-899-2731. This event is supported by D&W Fresh Market, Old Nation Brewing Company, Williamston Sunrise Rotary, Williamston Kiwanis, Victory Martial Arts, Groovy Donuts and WESPTSA.

Play-a-thon for the Parks set for May 19

One thing that sets Williamston apart is people’s willingness to band together to make a positive impact in the community. To raise money for the new playground at Volunteers Community Park, businesses, individuals and service clubs have contributed to the effort. Now, there is a chance for those that will benefit most from the new playground—kids and families—to make a difference.

Friends of Williamston Parks announces a new fundraising opportunity for kids of all ages to contribute to the new playground and have fun doing it. The Play-a-thon for the Parks is a daylong event on Saturday, May 19 at McCormick Park in Williamston. From 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., it will feature food, music, special activities and nonstop play.

Kids are encouraged to secure pledges for the number of hours they plan to play through The Get Movin’ Crew website (www.thegetmovincrew.com). Prize drawings will be held for those that register online and those that achieve the individual goal. The largest donation from each age group will be recognized as well. It is open to all kids, no matter age or school they attend. Donations also may be brought to park on the day of the event.

The fundraising effort will kick off April 13 and run through May 26. While any amount is welcome, FOWP has set an individual participant goal of $75 and an overall goal $15,000. All proceeds will go towards a new playground at Volunteers Community Park next to The Commons. The 85-foot by 50-foot area will feature four elements: a play structure featuring slides and climbing options, four swings, a Ten Spin that allows you to stand, kneel or sit while spinning, and a Tri Totter which provides three children the opportunity to bounce at the same time. 

While the kids are playing on May 19, parents, caregivers and other volunteers can assist with the Friends of Williamston Parks’ annual park clean-up day, which also will be held on May 19. In the event of rain, the Play-a-thon and clean-up day will be held on May 20. For a complete schedule of activities and event updates, visit www.williamstonparks.org. To volunteer, email williamstonparks@gmail.com or contact Cindy Bennett at 517-899-2731.

To make a general donation to the playground project, mail checks payable to WABF (memo: FOWP) to PO Box 116, Williamston, MI 48895 or via PayPal at williamstonparks@gmail.com.

Williamston Community Shows Support for Playground Project

The Friends of Williamston Parks (FOWP) continues to work toward its goal to fund a new playground at Volunteers Community Park on the corner of School and Putnam streets in Williamston. During the last nine months, several fundraisers, a mail campaign and grants received have provided one-third of the funds needed.

Most recently, Old Nation Brewing Company donated $2,180 through its Community Pour program in partnership with Feel Good Tap. Also, Williamston Sunrise Rotary presented $1,000 to the group to fund the benches that will be near the playground.

“Parks play a vital role in the quality of life of the community,” stated Raj Wiener, president of Williamston Sunrise Rotary. “Rotary members understand the need for playgrounds and are happy to support this project.”

The FOWP proposal encompasses an area approximately 100 by 50 feet next to the Trent Allen Memorial Basketball Courts. It features five elements for ages 2 and up offering opportunities to swing, slide, climb, hang, balance, spin and bounce. The playground concept has been endorsed by Williamston’s Parks and Recreation Commission and Williamston City Council. Costs to complete this project total $74,000.

The Friends of Williamston Parks began in 2015 to focus on park improvement efforts in the Williamston area. For more information about the Friends of Williamston Parks, visit www.williamstonparks.org, e-mail williamstonparks@gmail.com, or call Heather Galecka at 517-285-7607.

Friends of Williamston Parks Launches Website

The Friends of Williamston Parks (FOWP) has added another way to communicate with those interested in Williamston area parks. In addition to its strong Facebook presence, the volunteer community group recently launched a website at www.williamstonparks.org.

The website provides information on the group’s projects and events, and how to volunteer and donate. It also includes a list of area parks and links to its partners: Williamston Sunrise Rotary, Williamston Kiwanis, City of Williamston and Williamston Area Beautification Fund.  

The Friends of Williamston Parks began in 2015, and recently has been focusing on raising money for a new playground at Volunteers Community Park, the city park located on the corner of Putnam and School streets next to The Commons.

 

 

Old Nation Supports Friends of Williamston Parks

It doesn’t take a lot of effort to support park improvements during December. Simply enjoy a cold, refreshing M43 at Old Nation Brewing Company. Through the brewery’s Community Pour program, $1 of every pour of its signature brew, M43, will go to the Friends of Williamston Parks.

Old Nation Brewing Company, 1500 W. Grand River Ave. in Williamston, chooses a different charity each month to support through Community Pour, in partnership with FeelGoodTap. Local charities are featured quarterly.

“We are happy to help the Friends of the Parks and its effort to build a new playground in Williamston,” said Camilla Fritts, of Old Nation. “Old Nation is proud to be part of such a strong community that comes together to support its needs. Anything we can do to help, we are happy to contribute. The park will be a fantastic addition to our town.”