Clayton’s effort to build a universal playground got a $90,000 boost last week.
The town will get a slice of the $2 billion ConnectNC parks bond voters passed last year to put toward Clayton’s long-planned playground for children of all abilities. Larry Bailey, Clayton’s parks and recreation director, said Clayton’s Celebration playground and 44 other projects, totaling $10 million in requests, competed for the $3 million of the bond reserved for children with disabilities and veterans. Clayton’s playground, Bailey said, scored second highest among the projects.
“(State officials said) this grant would help provide a catalyst for this project to get off the ground, which we’re currently doing a fundraising project for,” Bailey said.
Bailey said the grant requires a four-to-one match, which is more forgiving than the typical 50-50 matching grant. Clayton will get $89,910 and have to put up $28,938 of its own money. The park itself is expected to cost around $700,000.
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Clayton’s Celebration playground, planned for East Clayton Community Park, has been discussed for more than two years without much progress made. Last November, the town announced a new fundraising effort, including the hiring of a marketing firm.
Lyn Purkerson, who is leading that fundraising effort, said the playground will have a reach that extends beyond Clayton.
“Great things are going on with the fundraising that we are doing, to just create a national and international impact from this project in Clayton,” Purkerson said.
The Clayton Town Council were pleased with the grant, if a little surprised by how much money it got from the state.
“I know I for one was not expecting to get quite that much, so I think that’s really really wonderful,” Councilman Michael Grannis said. “It’s obvious without you (fundraisers) and many, many others, we wouldn’t be making huge strides, and I for one am very excited about that. Don’t slow down.”
As part of the playground’s fundraising push, a golf tournament is scheduled for May 5, and a website has been created, www.inclusionplaync.com/.