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Rebuild Bullard sets $50,000 fund-raising goal

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 April 2014 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers – The Albion Lions Club, Village of Albion and community members are trying to raise $50,000 to update playground equipment and make other improvements at Bullard Park.

ALBION – Some of the equipment may go back 50 years, and some of the playground apparatus have been removed or modified due to safety concerns.

Bullard Park is in need of an update, said Dale Brooks, superintendent for the Department of Public Works.

The village sought state funding in 2012 and 2013, but both grant applications were denied. Brooks and the village want to forge ahead with improvements.

The “Rebuild Bullard” Committee met Tuesday and set a $50,000 fund-raising goal. That should be enough to put in new playground for bigger kids and make other improvements.

However, the committee hasn’t established a priority for the first project at Bullard. Recreation Director John Grillo believes a spray park would be a major draw to the park, bringing people from throughout the county.

Some of the equipment at the park goes back generations.

However, the village needs to run water and sewer lines to a central location for the spray park, and Brooks would like to see bathrooms and a changing area built for a spray park. He will seek construction estimates for the infrastructure, spray park and bathroom. That should be well in excess of $50,000.

Brooks would prefer to first address safety issues with the playground. The village has updated equipment at Pee Wee Park, a section of Bullard for toddlers and younger children. The spot with playground equipment for older children hasn’t been updated in many years.

“My concern is the safety part,” Brooks said at a meeting at Hoag Library.

Brooks is also a member of the Albion Lions Club, and the club is helping to raise funds for the project. Lions Cub President Bill Robinson said the fund-raising and improvements will likely take years. But he wants to get started “so the children’s playground is a safe place to play and the park is a credit to the community.”

The committee brainstormed several fund-raisers including a Battle of Bands, car wash, bowling tournament, dunk tank at the Strawberry Festival and donations that would go into a village account designated for the park.

Brooks and Grillo also would like to see neighboring towns provide some funding for the park because it is used by children and families outside the village.

The improvements will depend on the money coming to fruition. However, Brooks said some safety improvements may be required by the village’s insurance provider.

The committee will meet next at 7 p.m. on May 20 at Hoag Library.