January 8, 2013

Efforts continue to bring Champlain playground to life


---- — CHAMPLAIN —  Efforts will continue to secure funding for a new playground, though grant funding has so far eluded the Village of Champlain. 

Last year, the village applied for multiple grants, including one through North Country Regional Development, in hopes of obtaining money to establish an outdoor recreation space in downtown Champlain. 

None proved successful.

Still, Village Trustee Amy Gehrig said, the board has not given up on the project and plans to reapply this year.

So far, donations and fundraisers, including a Movie Night held at River Street Park last August, have resulted in about $3,300 for the project, according to Gehrig. 

And, she said, the plan is to continue hosting fundraisers in the spring. 

As a trustee, Gehrig can’t raise money herself, but she will assist the village’s Playground Committee with fundraising ideas. 

“I think that this will definitely happen,” she said of the playground, which would be erected near the village’s Community Garden, located between Main and Water streets. 

Also planned for the space is a basketball court that could be converted to an ice rink in the winter. 

The hope is that the recreation area would provide a place for children to play and help to revitalize the village. 

One of the most difficult challenges in funding the project, Gehrig said, is that grants are typically awarded to developing areas.

And although the Village of Champlain is a great community, she noted, it is deteriorating, making it a less desirable place for grant money to go. 

“We’ve got to focus on what we have and keep the families here,” she said. 

The Playground Committee will meet at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 14, in the Village Office to discuss fundraising concepts for the project, as well as possible grants to pursue in the coming months. 

The public is invited to attend the meeting and contribute ideas, Gehrig said.

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