January 21, 2003
Thank you again for your generous donation to Victory for Kids, the proposed safe, new playground at Albion's Victory Park. We write to let you know how your donation has helped this important community-driven project. This letter is a little long, because we want to inform you in detail how your money is being spent and to assure you that this project is on track and that the playground will be built this year. A build date is scheduled for September 3-7 (2003), in time for an opening during this fall's Festival of the Forks.
As you recall, the drive to build a new playground began in late 2000, when Valerie Etter took her kids to play at Victory Park and found she could not let them play there because the equipment was unsafe. She was right--earlier that summer a certified playground equipment inspector turned in a report stating that play equipment at Victory Park (and at other Albion parks) was unsafe and should be removed. In an Albion Parks safety report, he called for the removal of several pieces of equipment, sighting "very alarming entrapment, entanglement and protrusion issues." Over the next year, Citizens for the Victory Park Playground received donations and pledges totaling $53,000 of the estimated $125,000 needed to complete and maintain the playground--from individuals, businesses, churches, service groups and the Albion Community Foundation. Altogether, there were nearly 300 donors such as yourself, not to mention dozens of people who contributed time and materials to this great effort!
Your contribution has allowed us to hire one of the top architectural firms in the nation who specialize in safe, durable playgrounds, Leathers & Associates (see their web site at www.leathersassociates.com). The firm has constructed 1600 playgrounds over the past 30 years, including examples in Jackson and in Parma, pictured below.
These playgrounds are made of treated, kiln-dried lumber, plastic composite lumber, engineered wood fiber and rubber playground surfaces and conform to national and state safety and accessibility standards. Leathers provided a four-part strategy for completing the playground, including a schematic design phase, a design development phase, an organization phase and a construction phase. After completing a schematic plan based on reasonable space and money estimates, the architect in charge of our playground, John Dean, visited Albion in February, 2001, for a Design Day. The playground design was developed with the help of children from St. John, Crowell, Caldwell, Harrington and the Albion Open/Middle Schools, who offered their ideas and drawings of the sort of playground they wanted.
One of the children consulted, Demetrius Washington, wrote: "I think we should have more stuff so people can have more fun. Families can come and have a picnic. If we had more stuff then we would not have to wait to use something." The children suggested slides, a jungle gym, a western theme, a Tarzan rope, a rocket ship, and even a swimming pool! Dean incorporated many suggestions into the final scale drawing, which is reproduced here.
We are now in the Organization phase of the project: we continue to raise money and have begun to purchase materials. The committee has purchased lumber for a picket fence to surround the structure and has also purchased several special pieces of equipment. Leathers and Associates continues to be in regular contact with the Playground committee and has provided a sourcebook with specific directions as to how to proceed with the final stages of the project.
We are determined to successfully complete what so many citizens of Albion, including yourself, have started. In the past few months, Citizens for Victory Park Playground has received sizeable donations from a recent fundraiser at St. Paul's fall festival, Caster Concepts and also many small donations from citizens concerned that Albion's children have a safe and fun place to play, for a total of $13,800 in new donations. We are also reviewing applications for several grants. Our goal is to raise all the money we need by June 15, 2003. We still need $58,200.
Albion's 108 acres of parkland are impressive for a town our size. The Rieger and Victory Park area is a showpiece of our city, visited and enjoyed by so many families--including the river, tennis courts, skating rink, band shell and picnic shelter. The playground would further improve the park, give kids a safe play to play and families a pleasant place in which to pass the time together. A new, safe playground in Victory Park will benefit the entire Albion community.
Mayor Wheaton, city council members and key city employees have consistently backed this project. The playground will become the property of the city, which has agreed to maintain it. Citizens for Victory Park playground are providing for this maintenance: 10% of all donations to the park go into the Tillman Cornelius Fund, to be used for regular maintenance and any repairs that might be needed.
Economic challenges have limited the city government's capacity to maintain our parks. Victory for Kids is an opportunity for citizens of Albion to show that we care about our city and that we can maintain it and beautify it ourselves. The people of Albion have shown again and again that we are willing to make this city a better place. This won't be the only project we will need to take on ourselves if we are to make Albion a better place to live in the coming years. Successful completion of Victory for Kids will be a significant contribution to our ongoing effort to make Albion a great place to live.
Leslie Cavell, General Coordinator
Luti Erbeznik, General Coordinator
For more information, contact Leslie or Luti at
Money and materials
|Coordinator for Donated Materials:||Shelly Bagley|
|Coordinator for Tools:||Dwayne Bagley|
|Liaison Albion Community Foundation:||Michelle Mueller|
|Liaison City of Albion:||Mike Herman|
|Coordinators for Fundraising:||Karen Dobbins, Peg Turner, David Murray|
|Coordinators for Purchased Materials:||Dave Locke, Ron Wright|
|Coordinator for Children's Committee:||Rod Ferguson|
|Coordinators for Public Relations:||Beth Williamson, Anne Starr, Lisa Waddell|
|School presenters:||Anne Starr, Lisa Waddell|
|Public relations assistants:||Catherine Kerley|
|Web site||Maggie LaNoue / Albion Design|
|Coordinator for college student volunteers:||Jill Mihelich|
|Coordinator for CPAY Youth Volunteers:||Angie Cole|
|Call-A-Thon assistant:||Jake Weber|
|Coordinators for Food:||Darci Face, Michael Anes, Ann Garrett-Anes|
|Food handlers:||Michael Anes, Ann Garrett-Anes|
|Construction captains:||Tony Starr, Bob Armstrong, Drew Dunham, Doug Rose|
|Tools controllers:||Chris Rohlman, Dwayne Bagley|
|Security controller:||Janice Best|