A local moms-led effort to help the town acquire new playground equipment and rubber surfacing for a popular children’s area at Mead Park got a nice boost recently from one of New Canaan’s most established and generous service organizations.
The Newcomers Club of New Canaan’s $16,000 grant to the Friends of Mead Park Playground will help the group move toward its fundraising goal of $203,000 (though more help is needed, see below) as a target installation date for this summer quickly approaches.
“For so many members of Newcomers, Mead Park is the center of the community,” Newcomers President Claire Foster said in an email when asked about the grant.
“Whether it be meeting up for a playdate, watching a child’s baseball game, or setting up for a family picnic, Mead Park brings families together. It is the mission of The Newcomers Club of New Canaan to facilitate and add enjoyment to our newest neighbors’ transitions to town, and we felt that by supporting the restoration of one of our town’s most beloved parks, we are supporting all our neighbors by laying the groundwork for many wonderful memories to be made in a safe and fun environment.”
The funds are deeply appreciated by Allyson Mahoney and Monica Chimera, co-chairs of the Friends of Mead Park Playground.
Chimera said the community’s response to the planned new playground has been “incredibly positive.”
“The general consensus is that the play space is long overdue for a revamp and our donors cannot wait to see the finished product,” she said in an email. “They are especially excited about the PIP (poured in place) rubber surface.”
The local business community has “stepped up in a big way,” Chimera said.
“So far, we have secured premium level sponsorships from Walter Stewart’s, Rosie New Canaan, Karp Associates, Toddlertime, STAR Foundation and of course the Newcomers grant,” she said.
“The Newcomers grant of $16,000 places them at Gold level status and it represents the largest contribution we have received to date from any organization. We are working on adding more names to our list of sponsors as we are in the process of securing commitments from other local business organizations and we are awaiting the results of our grant applications with Young Women’s League, New Canaan Community Foundation, Bankwell and Eversource. Of course, we cannot forget the generosity our local families have shown us. We have sold over $100,000 in bricks largely due to the generosity of New Canaan families. In addition to the bricks, we have several families who have pledged their support in the form of premium sponsorships, including a Platinum level sponsor.”
All options for supporting the project are laid out on a page hosted by the NCCF (all donations are tax-deductible, thanks to the Community Foundation).
The existing, 20-year-old play structure, is well past its useful life, as slides have required replacement, one piece of Plexiglass has popped out more than once and the wood chips that surround the area are not ideal. Those shortcomings have driven some families to try playgrounds in surrounding towns, advocates say.
The Friends’ contribution will more than match the $190,000 in capital funds for the current fiscal year’s budget dedicated to the project. In addition to a state-of-the-art main structure, additional smaller ones including a ropes course can be acquired and the entire area will sit on the PIP surface.