Parks Fundraisers Netted $186,500 Last Year

January 11, 2010

Despite the economic recession, a prominent group that raises money for parks in West University Place still enjoyed a healthy fundraising year, netting about $186,500.

“We still are doing well because we have traditional donors that keep giving,” said Joni Hruska Fichter, chair of the Friends of West University Place Parks Fund.

Sue Hanna, the outgoing Friends treasurer, said the money the group raised from Jan. 1, 2009 through Dec. 31, 2009 is the same amount raised in an average year.

“Two-thirds of our money comes from the ball,” Hanna said, referring to the annual Park Lovers’ Ball fundraiser, which is coming up in February. “Fathers and Flashlights has become a bigger event. Forty thousand is a lot.”

Last year was the forth time the group organized Fathers and Flashlights, a one-night urban camp out for dads and kids that offers food, games and more. Other sources of funds are donations from individuals and business partners, a garage sale event and sales from the Friends Website.

The Friends recently wrote the city a check for about $154,000 to pay for renovations to Huffington Park on Milton Street. The park’s rededication in September invited residents to enjoy new play features, benches, trash bins and more.

With the fundraising from this year, plus funds left over from previous years, the group has about $180,000 left in the bank for future parks projects. The next park on the list is the Recreation Center — Once the city completes construction, the Friends will pay for a new playground for the facility. The Friends already donated $1 million to help with the center’s construction.

“People are very generous. This group of people, historically, has worked very hard,” Hanna said, referring to those who volunteer on the Friends board of directors. “It’s a great group of people.”

InstantNewsWestu Staff

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