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Friends of Ludington State Park awarded grants toward playground projec

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Seeks $15,000 in new donations by Nov. 15 to match $62,727 grant

Friends of Ludington State Park was awarded two grants in recent days towards the family-friendly, accessible playground project proposed for the Hamlin Lake Beach picnic area.

The Community Foundation for Mason County awarded the FLSP project $9,535 to help with purchase of the equipment for the two playscape project.

“We are very thankful for the Community Foundation for Mason County’s generous grant in support of this project and for their hosting a fund within the foundation where the public can donate to the project,” Bob Sasin, FLSP president said. “The foundation’s support is very important to the success of this project.”

GameTime Inc. awarded a $62,727.50 grant towards purchase of the equipment – half the total for equipment if FLSP purchases the equipment by Nov. 15.

In addition to the community foundation’s grant, $30,000 from FLSP and other donations to date, FLSP still needs to raise about $15,000 more by Nov. 15 to be able to match the GameTIme grant.

 “We are looking forward to completing this playground for the community, visitors, and campers to our beautiful State Park,” Sasin said. “This is a matching fund. It is a great opportunity for us to achieve our financial goal in a timely manner. I encourage members of the community and FLSP to participate in any level they deem affordable. Working together we can make this happen.”

In essence, the next $15,000 in donations will allow FLSP to accept the $62,727.50 grant from the Alabama manufacturer of the playground equipment to be used for the park. The money comes from a grant program the company administers nationwide. Sinclair Recreation of Holland, a designer, installer and representative of GameTime, designed the playground with input from FLSP, Mason County accessibility advocates Jamie Spore and Shelby Soberalski and park users. Sinclair assisted FLSP in securing the GameTime grant.

“This is wonderful news for the Friends of Ludington State Park and for the Ludington State Park’s visitors,” James Gallie, Ludington State Park manager, said. “The friends group has put a lot of work towards bringing an accessible playground into the community and these grants will really help make this playground a reality.  We’re so happy for them.”

Friends of Ludington State Park is a 501(c)3 charity and donations are tax deductible.

There are several ways to donate: By mailing a check to Friends of Ludington State Park, P.O. Box 123, Ludington, MI, 49431. Indicate playground on the check in the note area. Donate online through the Community Foundation for Mason County’s website, https.mason-foundation.org and under “Give” select Friends of Ludington State Park Playground to donate to the project using a credit card or deliver a donation to the Ludington State Park office during business hours. There’s a donation box at the desk.

Successfully matching the grant also would mean FLSP is about two-thirds of the way to its goal of $200,000. It plans to build the playground in June, 2018.

About $75,000 more will still need to be raised to purchase the poured-in-place surfacing, the fee for supervision of the community volunteer build in June and incidentals. The Michigan Parks and Recreation Division has indicated it will provide significant funding for the surfacing, but has not yet indicated the exact amount.

The Ludington State Park staff will also provide in-kind services in building sidewalks and curbing for the playground, helping reduce the cost of the playground, and will provide some paid staff to help during the volunteer community build, which also kept the cost down.

The playground features two playscapes, one for ages 2 through 5 and one for ages 5 through 12 allowing for interactive play for children of all abilities.  

The current playground near the site consists of a swing set and a slide, about 60 years old. They will remain in place.

To see a video overview of the playground design and to follow the progress of the project and keep up to date of Friends of Ludington State Park doings on the group’s Facebook Page and its website, www.ludingtonfriends.com.

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