Fundraising effort reaches $145K for new playground

Big donations from BP Alaska, CLIA and others help raise money for new Twin Lakes playground

Cruise Lines International Association Alaska President John Binkley, second from left, presents a check for $25,000 to the Juneau Playground Fund from the Cruise Industry Charitable Foundation on Monday, May 15, 2017, during a fundraiser for the fire-destroyed Project Playground in Juneau, Alaska. With Binkley are Sen. Dennis Egan, D-Juneau, left, Senate President Pete Kelly, R-Fairbanks, and Rep. Sam Kito, D-Juneau, right. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

The movement to rebuild the Twin Lakes Playground cleared one fundraising hurdle Monday, but there’s still a daunting amount of work to be done and more money to be raised.

 

The Juneau Community Foundation (JCF) reached (and surpassed) its goal of $100,000, which will pay for the deductible on the City and Borough of Juneau’s insurance policy. As of Tuesday, JCF had around $145,000 from both in-hand and pending donations, Deputy City Manager Mila Cosgrove said.

Numerous contributions from Juneau locals, combined with large donations from BP Alaska, Cruise Lines International Association Alaska and others made quick work of the $100,000 goal after the playground was burned down April 24.

Monday night’s Rockin’ the Park event — that included a performance from a band of legislators — raised $40,000 on its own from those in attendance, JCF Executive Director Amy Skilbred estimated. The JCF is still open for donations, and will be holding onto the money until the city finalizes a steering committee.

Mike Goldstein, one of the organizers of the playground’s initial construction in 2007, is part of the rebuilding effort, and said there’s still a long way to go. Though the city’s insurance policy is prepared to pay well over $1 million, Goldstein and the Playground Committee want to be prepared for any additional costs that might pop up.

The design process will be going throughout the summer and into the fall, and that process will dictate the committee’s fundraising goal.

“We’ll be trying to put that in context,” Goldstein said of the design process, “to discuss again with the public so we can then delineate what we think would be a more true fundraising goal to ensure that any expansion or component upgrade or better materials will be placed on the site.”

As of now, Goldstein estimates that the goal will be around $250,000, pushed by the desire to build a bigger and better playground for the community. At the public meeting May 2, many people expressed the wish to see the playground be rebuilt into a larger, safer and improved version.

In private meetings of the newly formed Project Playground Committee (going by the same name it used during the initial building process), members have expressed the same view. Those in the committee and those at the city are looking to welcome as much public input as possible, with Cosgrove estimating that those conversations will take place when students return to school this fall.

“‘As we get to rebuild it,’” Cosgrove said they’ll ask parents and students, “is there anything that we could do differently?’ We think having that conversation in the fall makes sense.”

Meanwhile, the Project Playground Committee is working to put together a website that will help keep updates in a central location instead of spread across multiple Facebook pages and the JCF website. Goldstein was at the Rockin’ the Park fundraiser Monday and said he was blown away at the amount of statewide concern there was about the playground. The overall response in the past few weeks, he said, has been encouraging.

“This is an amazing amount of kindness from the community for the community,” Goldstein said. “It melts my heart for sure.”


Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at alex.mccarthy@juneauempire.com or 523-2271


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