Grass-Roots Success in Jennerstown

Energy and Community Spirit Puts Park Ahead of Schedule

A surge of community activism catapulted a park project, and is now tracked to finish under budget and ahead of schedule.

On a Tuesday night in mid-July 2016, a group of Jennerstown residents got together and decided to renovate their local park, calling themselves the Jennerstown Recreation Committee. After two months of meetings, the group set lofty goals: a 4-phase plan with a budget of at least $60,000.

They got busy right away, raising money any way they could, with:
• A Burger and Hot Dog Bash
• Business fund drive
• Spaghetti dinner
• Stromboli sale
• Bake sale
• Christmas pine baskets

During its first 47 days, the Jennerstown Recreation Committee raised $10,000. As word spread of their plans to revitalize the park, the small-but-mighty group started to grow. With a new, energized buzz in Jennerstown, businesses, residents, and Borough officials jumped on board to help.

In addition to managing the group’s nonprofit fund, the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies supported this project with $2,000 from its 2016 Fall Grant Distribution.

By December, the group raised $25,000 – more than a third of their goal. In just a few short months, the Jennerstown Recreation Committee was able to pay for an 8-foot expansion of the parking lot, and purchase:
• A $20,000 play unit
• Swing set
• 3 toy riders for small children

Fundraisers have purchased this new playground for $20,000
New playground equipment

The wildly successful fundraising effort also means the Committee will move forward with Phase 1 of their plan ahead of schedule, saving thousands of dollars in the process.

Fundraising will continue during the next few months, so the following phases can be completed:
• Complete basketball renovation
• Surface for under play unit
• Picnic tables, benches, bike rack, and garbage cans
• Underground power and water run to pavilion
• Handicap parking area

If this momentum keeps up, the Recreation Committee will be able to install the new park in late April. Not only is this in time for the busy summer months, but it’s two months earlier than the original June date the group had set for itself.

This is the type of grass-roots community building that makes a big impact in our region. With their commitment to one local park, this group of citizens will revamp their green space, creating a safe, fun, family-friendly place to play outdoors.

You can help by going here to donate.

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