UNION COUNTY — The Miracle League of Union County is closer to getting $150,000 for a new playground for physically challenged children thanks to a donation from a group of high school students.
The Timken Foundation of Canton reviewed a request from The Miracle League of Union County (MLUC) for $150,000 to be used for the construction of an all-inclusive playground at Timken Sports Complex. The all-inclusive playground will be designed to enable anyone to play including children and adults with physical disabilities such as multiple sclerosis, injured veterans, seniors with physical challenges, and children with Autism.
Timken Foundation trustees approved a grant of $150,000 which includes a matching contingency — with a $75,000 donation scheduled for payment in August and an additional $75,000 to be paid by the foundation if matching funds are raised by the MLUC by the end of August.
The ongoing effort to raise those matching funds got a boost recently when the Interact Club at Union County High School donated $400 to the Miracle League for the playground. The club raised the money through a silent auction. The club’s sponsors are Ken Ellis and Elizabeth Ireton.
This is the latest in a series of donations the Miracle League has received for the playground project in recent months. Among those donating to the effort have been the students and staff of Monarch Elementary School; Chandler Austin, a player in the Miracle League and the son of MLUC President Amy Austin, who used his birthday money to purchase a brick that will be put in the entrance way of the playground; and a private donation of $3,000 that was made shortly after the Timken funding was announced.
Austin said Wednesday that the League is still selling the bricks which can be personalized according to the wishes of the purchaser. Each brick costs $100 and the League hoping to sell 750. As of Wednesday, Austin said that approximately 60 bricks had been sold raising approximately $6,000.
Austin said the new playground is projected to cost $373,117 to build and that as of Wednesday the League had raised in both cash on hand and commitments $246,452.62. The funds raised so far include $247 in merchandise sales, $1,000 in corporate donations, $18,328.72 from fundraisers, and $65,101.90 in private donations. The funds committed to the project include $10,000 pledged by the Union Rotary Club and the funds allocated by the Timken Foundation which will not be paid until August. The club will only get the full $150,000 if it raises the required $75,000.
Austin said the funds raised to date are partly those the League raised prior to the Timken grant allocation. She said the funds raised before then are not counted by the foundation toward the $75,000 match the League must raise. As of Wednesday, Austin said the League needs to raise approximately $60,000. Austin said that all funds raised by the League will go toward the cost of building the playground.
In urging the public to support the effort, Austin stressed that the park is not just for children and adults with disabilities.
“The park is all-inclusive, that means anyone can play on it,” Austin said. “This is a playground for everyone.”
Anyone who would like to support the MLUC’s efforts to build the park may call 864-466-7879, contact a board member, or visit The Miracle League of Union County Facebook page or website at www.themiracleleagueofunioncounty.org.