August 4th, 2014 was a great day for the City of East Lansing and the East Lansing Rotary Club, a great day to celebrate a new park. Over 4 ½ years of work culminated in a community celebration of the completion of the Playground In the Park Re-Imagined. Not even an epic thunderstorm could dampen the day – shorten the ceremony, yes, but dampen the spirits of those attending – not a chance!
It was a sweet celebration in many ways. To see East Lansing Rotarian and now East Lansing Mayor Nathan Triplett deftly manage the rapidly compressed recognition ceremony; to welcome all of the major sponsors and donors for special recognition; to witness Project Chairperson, John Saltzgaber, receive a standing ovation; to enjoy special commemorative cookies and ice cream; and best of all to see the children in absolute joy over the long-awaited brand new play space. It was sweet indeed.
Stepping foot for the first time on the special poured in place safety surface brings the benefit of this surface to life as the surface gives way underfoot and springs back. Knowing that this equipment is safe, eco-friendly, long –lasting, and handicap accessible says the community got it right when they asked for all of these qualities during the planning sessions.
The Past and Future Meet
This project is truly a capstone event for the East Lansing Rotary Club, and perfectly aligns with the 1995 Playground Project which first fired the imagination of the community – also spearheaded by the East Lansing Rotary Club. It is fitting that when the permanent signage arrives in a few months, there will be a special sign commemorating all of the 1995 Park Donors. To learn how you can still be part of the new park celebration contact firstname.lastname@example.org
An army of hard-working volunteers got the Community Build portion of the Playground in the Park build done. Despite hot and humid weather on Monday and Tuesday, June 16 and 17, plus a rainy start on Wednesday, work for the Community Build portion of the Playground in the Park Re-Imagined has progressed very well. Just a few slides remained to be put in place and concrete to be poured into post holes.
Community volunteers planning on helping on Thursday and Friday were contacted to let them know that their services would not be required.
City of East Lansing and Contractors Still Have Work to Do
It is anticipated that there is 4 to 6 weeks before the new play space will be ready for the public. Items remaining to be completed:
- The remainder of the plantings for the rain garden
- Additional walkways leading to the play space
- More landscaping beds to be planted
- Benches to be installed around the perimeter of the play space
- Preparation of the entire site for the poured in place safety surface
- Installation of the entry plaza and pergola including the brick paved area
Community Can Still Help
The entry plaza has been designed to acknowledge sponsors on permanent signage as well as to provide opportunities for families and community members to support the park with a commemorative brick. The brick pavers come in two sizes: 8×4 for $100, and 8×8 for $150. “The plaza as designed has room for 800 pavers and it was our hope that the community would help us complete the funding by purchasing these bricks,” said Rotary Project Chairperson John Saltzgaber. “To date, we have sold nearly 200 pavers but we have a way to go. In order to get the pavers engraved and ready for installation we have set a deadline of July 15th for brick purchases.”
Those interested in purchasing a brick or two, or even to sponsor can visit the following website for more information: www.cityofeastlansing.com/playgroundinthepark
The play space will be fenced and locked for safety purposes, and to keep the project on schedule. City officials are requesting that people refrain from entering the play space until the formal dedication in early August.
Sunday June 8th the forecast calls for morning showers and warm temperatures. “A little rain never stopped us,” quipped the Pancakes in the Park Chairperson, Josh Clayton. “We plan on making and serving pancakes like we always do, so come on out and see us on Sunday morning.”
The annual community service fundraiser, a signature event for the East Lansing Rotary Club, is scheduled for Sunday June 8th from 7:00am to 12:30pm in the covered picnic pavilion at Patriarche Park, Alton Street and Haslett Road in East Lansing. The menu includes coffee, juice, pancakes, sausage and grilled apples. Tickets are $5.00 each and kids 5 and under EAT FREE.
This Sunday visitors to Pancakes in the Park will also get a good look at the site preparation for the Playground in the Park, Re-Imagined. The Community Build for the playground is set to begin on June 16th and continue through the 19th (rain make-up day on the 20th). Volunteers are still needed to help with the build and Community Support opportunities include engraved brick pavers (4×8 or 8×8) perfect for families or businesses. Look for more details at the Park on Sunday, or go to: www.cityofeastlansing.com/playgroundinthepark
So, on your way to church or the park, toss your rain gear and umbrellas in the car and get ready for a fun day in the park!
Fellow Rotarians here are the Big Bang-Quet results. Many thanks to everyone who participated in the University Club’s Big Bang-quet Charity Challenge! Twenty-four organization’s were a part of this year’s “challenge” and our Playground in the Park Re-Imagined project finished in 6th place with 840 votes or $4,200! Many thanks to all who voted online, recruited friends and family to vote, and/or attended and voted at last night’s Grand Reveal party. Thanks also to the Community Foundation and MSUFCU for their sponsorship of this event. And, a special thanks to our own Phyllis Riley for her advocacy on behalf of including the playground project among the charities/causes in this year’s event.
The Community Foundation will be sending us a check for $3,570 – which is our share (85%) of the votes cast – and moves us one step closer to fully funding the playground project.
You can go to http://www.universityclubofmsu.org/theclubwithaheart and click on the full details link to see all of the Big Bang-quet Charity Challenge rankings.
Thanks once again everyone for your support!
The Playground in the Park Re-Imagined Committee
The East Lansing Rotary Foundation makes it possible for our organization to compete in the Big Bang-Quet Community Charity Challenge. This is a special opportunity to raise awareness and funds for our Playground in the Park Re-Imagined project. The timing is wonderful since the the voting structure of the competition makes the cost of supporting our charity within reach of the whole community and comes at a time when the community will be encouraged to participate as we prepare for the final push to completion. The park is expected to be completed in June of 2014.
Share with your Family, Friends and Neighbors
To participate in the Big Bang-Quet Community Charity Challenge Rotarians, friends and supporters are encouraged to visit the voting website: www.universityclubofmsu.org/theclubwithaheart to cast their votes (each vote costs $5) from February 1 – March 24. Votes cast for Playground in the Park Re-Imagined will yield 85% of the fund for the cause. Additionally, should the park project be among the top vote getters there are added benefits, the top prize is a $10,000 banquet at the University Club to be used for further fund-raising.
Sponsors Determined to Succeed
The Playground in the Park is a collaboration between the East Lansing Rotary Club, the City of East Lansing and many sponsors and supporters, including the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund ( a major grantor). Planning and fund-raising has spanned nearly four years as the sponsoring organizations looked for solutions to replacing the aging wooden play structure with a safer, eco-friendly, long-lasting, and accessible play space.
Decades of happy children have explored every inch of the wooden play structure at Patriarche Park. Today we bid it a fond farewell as we make way for a safer, more accessible play structure that will delight children and families for decades to come. We recognize the community members and leaders from East Lansing Rotary that worked so hard to make Playground in the Park a reality.
Demolition begins at Patriarche Park on a frigid day in January as the first step in site preparation which will lead to a community build event in June of 2014.