Sankey Park Phase III Needs Community’s Help

Kristy Tallman

Lance (Wally) Shreves, chair of the Parks & Tree Committee, provided an update on fundraising efforts for the Sankey Park Phase III improvements at the City Council meeting on Feb. 13, 2024, including the community center, trails, and infrastructure.

The improvements will include a new bandstand, community center, trails, and infrastructure like power and lighting. These will allow for more community events and activities in the park.

Shreves told council members, the new community center will have tiered seating, allowing better views for events like weddings and the project will also add trails, linking lower and upper Sankey Park and connecting to the future South Hills trail system.

The committee has started an initiative to gather sponsors and donations to help fund the estimated $60,000 still needed for the $294,000 project.

“So today, we started trying to do some fundraising. Last year it was in the fall, we didn’t have a lot of success. Kind people pointed out we were doing this at the wrong time. We needed to do it in the early winter, spring when people are developing their funding for the year and what they’re going to do so tonight the Park and Tree committee’s announcing our initiative drive to go and gather sponsors for this work that we’re going to put in,” said Shreves.

Shreves asked the council and community to help spread the word about donation opportunities to support completing the project.

“Now, why would people want to put money into this? Well, there’s a lot of reasons,” said Shreves. “The bandstand that was there was taken out and we promised we would put a new one in. That bandstand was used for family reunions quite a lot. It was also used for small get-togethers for families, but it was small. The new bandstand community center will provide an area for a larger band. It provides an area for weddings with a beautiful backdrop of the park, and Sankey bridge. It also provides a place for people to have birthday parties.”

Shreves said over the summer he couldn’t count how many times people in search of a good place to have a party were directed on Facebook to go to Waterloo or out to River Bend because of their covered facilities, “So the new area would be amazing for the people to use,” he stated.

Continuing he stated, “Additionally, what this brings in, is it’s also part of the link as we continue on with the park system. So this is the link from lower Sankey to upper Sankey which in the future will also link us into the South Hills trail. So all of the people that bike, hike, walk, take their dogs out, that ties all that in. So with that said, that affects pretty much the entire community.”

Donation opportunities include financial contributions from community members and businesses. Other fundraising events were suggested, like activities tied to Arbor Day, a spaghetti feed, silent auction, or a “reverse raffle.”

Councilor Angelita Sanchez asked Shreves, “Sir, talking to us today, have you guys considered? Or is it possible to have a GoFundMe that we can share on social media? Or are there any fundraisers that you guys are going to do, like bake sales, carwashes, yard sales to try to have that type of buy-in?”

Shreves stated the committee was open to all types of donation drives.“ That’s the one thing that our group has talked about. And of course, since we’re a public group, we can’t actually do anything till our meeting, to vote and decide on but yes, we’ve talked about doing it on Arbor Day, tying that together with besides the Arbor Day celebration, but also doing events in the park and going over to the community center. The Boys and Girls Club and doing silent auctions spaghetti fee or have a reverse raffle, which I had never heard of. So, yes!”

City Manager Kelsey Young said, “And also just so everyone knows, the city is also selling gravel and wood chips. And those proceeds are also going to Sanky Park, and more ways that we’re raising funds.”

“What I’m asking everyone here tonight is if you hear somebody talking about this, or if you would just put out the word that we’re going to be out trying to drive this project to make it happen,” said Shreves.

Further he stated, “Now, I don’t have the exact numbers. But the last I heard we were around $60,000 short of our goal. And the overall goal is $296,000 to do the entire project. So comparatively, we’re down to a small part, but we need to continue on. And you’ve seen in Sankey Park, the activity that has happened from what’s already been done, this next part will make a huge progress in our development of the park systems. So if you would give us a hand, I think there’s seven of us running around attempting to drive this funding. And we could use all the help we could get.”

Mayor Susan Coleman said, “I see your passion, and I think other people do too.”