Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

March 20, 2013

Letter to the Editor

The Journal Express

---- — To the Editor:

I read, with great interest, a news article in the March 15 Journal-Express (Supervisors Approve Budget). In a separate action, the Board agreed to support the City of Pella’s request for $25,000 for their new sports park.

The parks in Knoxville have long been neglected since this community of volunteers built the playground in Auld Park, some 15 or more years ago. The funds that the City of Knoxville spends on its parks are not enough to keep them viable. This is due, in part, to the funds the City has to work with.

For the last two years, the Knoxville Parks Advisory Commission, along with the Knoxville Rotary Club, the Knoxville Optimist Club and the Knoxville Morning Kiwanis Club have been working together to upgrade and improve the Knoxville City Parks here in Marion County.

Let me make it very clear, I have no problem with the City of Pella receiving County funds for its new sports park. This is a wonderful project and I wish them well.

On the contrary, the people of Knoxville owe a great deal of gratitude to the corporations and foundations in Pella. To date, they have given us over half the funds raised for our Miracle playground. Thank you, Pella! To be fair, we have not asked for any funding from the County Board of Supervisors for our project.

What I am asking of the people of Knoxville is that, if you think we should receive County support for our parks and playgrounds, so let your supervisors hear from you. This will make it easier for us when we do request funds.

The Knoxville Morning Kiwanis Club has been working to raise funds to build the Kiwanis Miracle Playground in Young’s Park. Our club, along with local volunteers, will start construction of the brick patio as soon as the frost has left the ground this spring. The brick patio is the hub that makes our playground handicap accessible to all, upon completion. For that reason, it needs to be constructed first. This brick patio will also display named bricks of this project’s sponsors. Those wishing to sponsor a brick for $150 will have a permanent reminder of their giving. Additional bricks can be sponsored. You can get two bricks for $125 each or three or more for $100 each.

A black granite monument will also be located there. It will prominently mark this project as Young’s Park Kiwanis Miracle Playground. The names engraved on this stone will be those who helped sponsor the project by giving $500 or more.

There will be 18 benches in various locations throughout the playground. Six of these will be black granite benches and will be located on the brick patio. Twelve of these will be wood grain composite benches and will be placed around the playground area. To date, we have three of the wood grain composite benches sponsored.

In another effort to raise funds, for a wish list of things we would like to add to our playground, we have put together a book of memorials for you to choose from.

Our club is so grateful for all of the sponsorship of this playground. This gives us hope that we can reach our goal of $170,000. Fundraising is going very well, as we still have grants to write. We are very optimistic that this project is going to happen and when people see it begin, the more they will want to get involved with this playground. To date, we have raised $10,000 of the funds needed for Phases 2 and 3 of this project.

Please see our playground display in the Founders window through March. There are pledge sheets and brochures available there as well.

Thank you for your time.

Ernest A. (Ernie) Smith

Chairman, Young’s Park Kiwanis Miracle Playground Committee