Two civic groups have raised more than $50,000 for new playground equipment at Brit Spaugh Park. One final fundraiser is planned to make “The Tot Spot” even better, members said.
The Great Bend Rotary Club and Barton County Young Professionals joined forces last December to buy playground equipment designed with preschoolers in mind. It will be set up near the taller equipment for elementary age children that can already be found in the northeast corner of the Brit Spaugh Park, north of the Wetlands Aquatic Center.
The colors of the equipment were decided by an online poll, where 82 percent of the voters were in favor of blue and lime green.
The Rotary Club will host the fundraiser, “BBQ & Bears, Wine & Wildbeasts,” from 6-9 p.m. on Friday, May 1, inside the Great Bend Brit Spaugh Zoo. There will be a catered barbecue dinner, wine tastings provided by Rosewood Wine Cellar, music, tours of the zoo and an appearance by Miss Kansas. The public can purchase tickets for $35. They can be ordered by visiting the YP Facebook page link or by contacting Jessica Foster at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rotary President Mary Drake said the joint project with the Barton County Young Professionals started with a discussion about what might be a need in the city. Thanks to a $7,500 grant from the Golden Belt Community Foundation and other donations, the project is now completely funded.
However, landscaping, seating and shade are extras that require additional funding. Silent auctions going on from 4-7 p.m. at the Art & Wine Walk in downtown Great Bend (see related story) and tickets from the zoo event will go to the Tot Spot project.
The next move after the May 1 fundraisers will be to order the equipment, which takes 8-10 weeks to ship. The City Parks Department will then set aside time to install the equipment.
“We are a little bit ahead of schedule so we have not decided on an exact date, but we are going to have a donor party and a grand opening that will happen no later than September,” said A.J. Crest, YP Steering Committee member. “I’ve been completely amazed by the community support for the project,” said Crest.
Anyone between the ages of 21 and 40 that wants to get involved with Barton County Young Professionals can show up at any event, go to their Facebook page, or visit the website bartonyp.com.