The Riverstone Playground Society is again in the running for a $50,000 prize. For the second year in a row, its plan for a playground at Riverstone Public School has been named one of the finalists for the Aviva Community Fund.
It received some of the most online votes out of the 500 projects that applied. The society took home $5,000 as a finalist last year, but president Jamie Dowhy says they’re hoping for a win in 2017.
“We were advised by Aviva to do an application again and hopefully get the votes to get us to the final round, which we did. We should find out on the 1st of December whether we have won.”
So far, the parent group has raised $200,000 since they began last September, and Dowhy says they’re on track to bring in the necessary $470,000 for the first phase of the project by next summer. That would cover the equipment for two playgrounds and their installation.
“We joke that the kids play in mud and with tumbleweeds because there is nothing there for the kids to play with,” says Dowhy. “Of course they have skipping ropes and soccer balls, but as far as equipment to climb on, your typical, classic playground, there isn’t one.”
One playground would be for younger children, and the other aimed at older ones. The focus will be on climbing, as well as swings, slides and spinning toys, and there will be accessible features and musical elements.
“We went for the stars when we were looking at this project,” Dowhy says. “What would just make the most epic playground and we’ve tried to do that.”
The equipment will likely be surrounded by pea gravel, but the second phase could include a rubber surface. The society is also looking into lighting to deter vandalism.
If they don’t receive the $50K this time, they’ll still be walking away with another $5,000 from Aviva. They also have an ongoing vacation raffle that will bring in $40,000 if sold out, and other fundraisers in the works.
They’re also hopeful to get a matching grant of up to $125,000 from the provincial government. As Riverstone Public School was announced in December 2013, it is not eligible for the $250,000 grant created by the NDP for schools announced between 2014 and 2018.