AP NEWS

Funds needed to build new playground

April 14, 2019

MOMENCE — The Momence Park District plans to install a new cedar log playground at Island Park. The park district is in the final stages, but an additional $5,000 is needed to make it a reality.

The idea to build a new playground was brought to the attention of the Momence Park District board and manager Ann Cobb in 2017 by alderwoman Rebekah Cope.

Because the bandstand is located in the center of the park, Cope said she doesn’t have direct “eye-line” sight on her children playing on different equipment throughout the park. Her comment set the wheels in motion to bring a new playground to Island Park.

“The park has been here a long time and will continue to be here for a long time,” Cobb said. “We are just trying to make it better. Island Park is so important to Momence. The playground will enhance the idea of nature and provide the community with an updated play space.

“Visitors are just as important because, when they spend time in our parks, they also visit the local museum, restaurants and businesses.”

The playground is expected to open the weekend of July 4. The playground equipment, from Bears Nature Inspired Playgrounds, will be ADA accessible and will feature four slides, swings, rope climbers, natural balance beams, monkey bars, play panels, a small rock wall and a suspension bridge.

“It’s all cedar and will blend in with the aesthetics of the park — acres of wooded beauty and wildlife along the Kankakee River,” Cobb said.

The park district received $40,000 in grants from Kankakee County organizations and from generous donations from local businesses, including Silva International, Van Drunen Farms and Edmund Allen Lumber Company.

“A lot of community members have helped us with their time and effort,” Cobb said. “Even with grants and donations, we’ve come up a little short. We are in the very final stages of making this project a reality and are looking to our community to come together to raise the final $5,000.”

Cope obtained several local business donations and park district board president Cory Illum, who passed away in March, got the Lions Club involved and also secured donations.

“We are all working together as a community,” Cobb said. “We have one common goal — to enhance the community and the life of the people who life here. And local businesses and organizations are working together to achieve that goal.”

When the equipment is ready for installation, Van Drunen Farms volunteered their time and personnel to build the playground.

To help raise funds for the playground equipment, Bordertown Guns Inc. is holding a raffle. Tickets are $20 each and only 600 tickets will be sold. Prizes include several pistols, a rifle, a revolver, Bordertown Guns silver family range membership package and a Bordertown Guns archery range membership.

FOID transfers will go through Bordertown Guns, and all winners must have a valid FOID card and pass a background check. Tickets are available at the Momence Park District office at Island Park, Bordertown Guns and during the gun show at the Kankakee County Fairgrounds on April 27-28.

To donate directly to the playground equipment fund, go to momenceparkdistrict.org; gofundme.com and search New Playground for Island Park Momence; or mail to P.O. Box 665, Momence, IL 60954.

“Every bit helps. It’s everyone’s community,” Cobb said.

The existing playground equipment will be taken out. Pieces that still are usable will be moved to the park district’s other parks: Walnut Street Park, Island View Park, Jed and Emma Park and Boat Launch Park.