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Millarville playground waiting on government grant

Installation of the $450,000 project will take place in late April should grant application prove successful.
Concept art for Millarville Community School's proposed new playground. (Courtesy Millarville Community School)

Installation of a new playground at Millarville Community School is scheduled for late April — government grant willing. 

President Ellisha Francis said the fundraising society is at 70 per cent of its $450,000 goal, but is optimistic that a provincial grant will push it within sight of the finish line. 

“We had very high hopes that we would have this park in the ground last October and we’d be the last install of 2022 for the playground company, but we just weren’t there unfortunately with our funds so now we’re hoping to be one of the first installs of 2023,” Francis said. 

Fundraising to replace the school’s 30-year-old playground began in January of last year after parents were told the structure was so old it couldn’t be repaired, which prompted a series of bottle drives, hotdog sales and other funding ventures. 

With $137,000 left to raise, parents are hoping a $125,000 grant, as well as a final fundraising push, will allow the project to proceed. Francis said the society has already paid a 50 per cent deposit to get the playground into the manufacturing stage and installation has been scheduled for the last week of April, which will take place as long as the grant application is successful. 

“We want to get our kids a new playground so we’re trying to remain as positive as possible,” Francis said. “We're moving forward like this park is coming in the ground.” 

In the meantime, fundraising will continue.

A large portion of proceeds from the school’s Spring Round Up on March 16 will be earmarked for the playground, while a bottle drive is scheduled for the end of March. 

Francis estimates the two events will raise about 5,000, so parents are hoping those in the community will step up to cover the remaining amount. 

The society will also be looking for volunteers to help with installation, likely needing as many as 40 people a day for the week of April 25-29. 

“We're trying to get the word out there that if this park is a go, we’ll need help,” Francis said. 

Originally pegged at $420,000, the price of the playground, like much else these days, has since increased and now sits at $450,000, providing parents with incentive to get the project completed as soon as possible. 

“The cost of replacing a playground is just astronomical,” Francis said. “We're looking at almost half a million dollars and for such a small community, that’s a lot.” 

She said the existing playground, which acts as a community hub, is so old the parts are obsolete so it can’t be fixed. 

“When things break, they’re simply removed and we don’t want that for our kids,” Francis said. “We don’t want sections pulled out.” 

The society expects to get an answer on its grant application by the end of March. 

Ted Murphy

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