Lehman Park equipment upgrade coming

Authored by Jim Langham on Nov 28, 2012

It was a lot of hard work getting there, but in the end Berne City Council members had nothing but praise for the hard work put in by Lehman Park board member Amanda Patterson and the other board members that worked feverishly to put together a financial package to purchase over $65,000 of playground equipment.
The new equipment will be installed in the west part of the park near the concession stand and ball diamond. It is anticipated that it will be ready for use by spring.
The equipment will be replacing several pieces of equipment that had been condemned and that will be removed from the park.
Patterson told council members that there were three phases that board members had outlined to bring to council. The smallest package would cost approximately $22,000 and would consist of a minimal amount of play equipment.
The second phase would cost an additional $16,893.60. However, Patterson said, there wasn’t enough money to purchase that package because there was no grant money included with it.
Phase three, the one preferred by board members, would accommodate 60-70 children and could be funded with a 50/50 grant. Ron Dull, who heads the board, said that GameTime, the organization through which the proposed equipment would be purchased, offered a $29,000 grant towards the $65,731 cost of the larger package. In addition, fund-raisers such as the recent Fall Harvest Festival had raised nearly $20,000 toward the project over the past few years. Plus, an additional financial push mounted another $10,700 toward the project, meaning that the project still needs $11,288 from the city in order to pay for the equipment.
“The way things add up, the grant would pay for 44 percent of the project, donated funding from the community would amount to 43 percent, leaving the city with just 16 percent to purchase the equipment,” said Berne Mayor Bill McKean.
“Option three is what they really want,” continued McKean. “Gwen (Maller, Clerk/Treasurer) has the money in a rainy day fund to pay for the completion of the purchase.”
Maller said that the money had originally been budgeted for purchase of a roof for the Senior Center, but when the Senior Board was able to finance the roof, it left money available for the equipment purchase.
“We feel that with the effort put forth by the community to raise this money, it’s only appropriate for the city to do its part,” said McKean.
Patterson said that if city officials don’t take advantage of the grant offer, it would be off and may not return.
Dull said that the equipment would be paid off by Jan. 1 and installed by spring.
“The park board recommends that we go with option three,” said Dull. “It is the best bang for the buck for the City of Berne.”
Council unanimously passed the board’s recommendation.
“This is a long term investment for our community,” said Patterson. “We started working for funding for this over two years ago.”

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