Could Statesboro use a new playground? The Statesboro Kiwanis Club thinks so, but your votes are needed to help the club win a $25,000 prize in the "Legacy of Play" contest.
For the fourth time, Kiwanis International is teaming up with Kiwanis partner Landscape Structures to give one Kiwanis club $25,000 of playground equipment, and if Statesboro wins, land is already set aside for the possible project, said Statesboro Kiwanis Club spokesperson and member Ashlee Hooks Corbin.
Voting begins Tuesday and is open through May 31 on the Kiwanis International Facebook page (www.facebook.com/kiwanis) under the "Legacy of Play" contest tab.
Facebook users are
eligible to vote on each submission once per day for the duration of the voting period. At the end of the contest, the top 10 qualifying entries that have received the most votes will advance to the final part of the competition, she said. Further information about the final judging phase can be found on the Kiwanis International Facebook page.
Corbin and Statesboro Kiwanis member Bob Mikell, who is also on the Blue Mile Committee, learned about the contest and approached club President Alex Grovenstein, "who thought it was a good idea," Corbin said.
When asked to take the lead on the proposal, Corbin contacted Allen Muldrew with the Downtown Statesboro Development Authority, who "took the idea and ran with it, talking with the city on (the club's) behalf and also offering not one but two potential places for the playground to be located."
Both are located on the Blind Willie McTell Trail.
"The first and preferred location would be on East Cherry Street, adjoined to the dog park that is set to be built as part of the Blue Mile efforts," she said. "Kiwanis is excited for the potential to contribute to the Blue Mile and the revitalization of downtown Statesboro."
Statesboro needs a new playground because the town's low-income housing area does not have access to a modern playground, she said. The playground closest to this area is located at the Statesboro-Bulloch County Parks and Recreation Department, which has outdated equipment that was installed in the 1980s and before.
"There are only three public playgrounds in the Statesboro area, two of them being out of reach of the Blue Mile, where there is a large concentration of low-income families," Corbin said. "These three playgrounds are responsible for servicing the children of a city with an estimated population of 30,000. The location we are proposing for our playground would be less than 200 yards from low-income and subsidized housing."
The primary location the club is looking to utilize has already been set aside to be used for a dog park.
"We are hoping to connect the two for a family friendly environment," she said.
Kiwanis was first created with the intent of "changing the world by serving children, one child and one community at a time," Corbin said. "If we were to win $25,000 of play equipment, I think it's safe to say that the Kiwanis Club of Statesboro would be serving our community and more than one child, and that's something we're excited about."
The club will be involved if they win by volunteering to help construct the park.
"We have several skilled carpenters in the club that can help with seating and table construction so that there can be a picnic area added to the park," she said. "This playground will host the opportunity for children who may not have regular exercise to run and play and have fun while also helping their health and wellness."
The city of Statesboro would maintain the playground's landscaping and regular maintenance, while the Kiwanis Club of Statesboro will maintain the signage and "do our part with community cleanups when needed," Corbin said.
"Statesboro has a host of civic organizations and business owners that strive to support our community in every way possible. If we were to win this playground equipment, we have no doubt we would have support from the business sector and philanthropic organizations," she said. "There is already adequate parking for the dog park, so we would be able to utilize that area for playground parking as well."
Residents of the area are encouraged to vote daily and invite others to do so in order to increase the club's chances of winning the contest so a new playground can be added to the city's assets.