Project proposes playground equipment

Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Gerry Wass, left, representing the Purdy Renewal Project, shows the proposed playground equipment the organization hopes to add to the city park. Pictured, from left, is Purdy Mayor Steve Roden, along with aldermen Wayne Rupp, Ken Real and Bob Moser. Murray Bishoff Cassville Democrat

Purdy city officials urge final fundraising drive for custom project

The Purdy Renewal Project announced plans for a new playground addition in the city park in Purdy.

Gerry Wass, Neal Wass and Robin Henderson, president of the Purdy Renewal Project, reported the organization has raised more than $10,000 in hopes of adding to the park, including $1,000 from the Spanish Club and its recycling project. In 2013, with the help of the Robert and Frances Chaney Family Foundation, the Purdy Renewal Project added the Toddler's Choice playground apparatus, acquired from Miracle Recreation Equipment in Monett. For another addition, the organization hoped to acquire another piece that could be used by around nine children at once, suitable for an older crowd.

The design from Miracle Recreation Equipment shows the custom product sought by the Purdy Renewal Project for the city park in Purdy. The unit would offer less blocks of plastic and more active involvement by older children. Murray Bishoff Cassville Democrat

Gerry Wass said the group had not found anything strikingly suitable for its vision. An Asian firm had something they liked, but a broker in California would not cooperate with the shipping price. Additional talks with Miracle Recreation Equipment uncovered a custom piece with more athletic equipment involved for $16,300. Knowing the city preferred to deal with local companies, the representatives asked for direction. Henderson said the project had received a new grant from the Chaney Family Foundation, but would have to spend it before the city's new budget and fiscal year began on July 1.

Aldermen expressed general support for the undertaking. Mayor Steve Roden said in the coming year, the city would spend money on road projects in particular, and may want to take a hard look at resurfacing the road through the park. Discussion of talks surfaced with the Missouri Department of Transportation about redoing the ditch along Highway C by the park, including widening the radius of the turn into Gabby Gibbons Drive at the east end. Estimates on the ditch work ranged from $7,000 to $20,000, some of which would come from the Purdy School District.

Gerry Wass said the Purdy Renewal Project has had limited success raising funds by displaying plans for the playground equipment at basketball games. Henderson said they had not tried direct solicitations of businesses, though they had spoken to the Purdy High School Alumni Association. Neal Wass said despite the availability of federal grant money for parks, successful projects required grants from cities, school districts and the state, a task too complicated for a single grant writer.

Roden urged the organizers to launch a targeted fundraising effort, showing their recommended equipment goal.

"It's community involvement we need," Roden said. "The city is willing to help."

Roden said the city could find room to store the components. A joint effort by volunteers was needed to assemble the last project and would be needed again. The mayor said the advantage of having the manufacturer close by, and the volunteer help last time of several Miracle employees on the assembly, was worth the higher price of working with a local supplier.

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