Work on the Washington Jaycees all-abilities park could begin later this year.
City Administrator Jim Briggs told council members earlier this week that the project can be paid for using funds currently available in the half-cent capital improvement sales tax fund.
The city would use that money for the park and the Jaycees would reimburse the city as the organization raises funds.
The city has budgeted $450,000 for the park, which will feature playground equipment for children with special needs but be open to children of all abilities.
The park will be built east of the Kohmueller farmhouse along South Lakeshore Drive near Lions Lake.
The Jaycees have pledged to raise $250,000 over five years to help cover expenses.
Jaycees President Danielle Grotewiel told The Missourian Thursday that after the piccadilly auction Jan. 21 which raised about $13,500, the Jaycees have raised a total of approximately $65,000.
A rough preliminary estimate places the total cost of the park at $774,752, but Jaycees members stressed that amount does not include in-kind donations from businesses, organizations and the city.
Parks Director Darren Dunkle told the council previously that he expects in-kind services from the city to bring the final cost down to around $700,000.
The Jaycees made a presentation about the park at the Jan. 17 city council meeting.
“The council was very excited and wanted to see it go forward,” Briggs told The Missourian.
Right after the capital improvement tax was renewed by voters in April 2010, the tax fund had a balance of approximately $1.3 million, according to Briggs.
Projections at that time showed that the tax would bring in roughly $16 million in revenue over the next eight years and the council agreed to fund about $13.5 million worth of projects with the tax revenue.
Briggs said while the city issued certificates of participation (COPs) to advance many projects, like the city library renovation, and that the city will have to pay interest on those COPs, “there will still be ample revenues to advance the all-abilities park,” he said. “We still have some cushion.”
Briggs said a budget amendment to fund the park would likely take place in April.
The largest expense of the park will be the playground equipment purchased from NuToys and Sound Play Inc., which with shipping costs totals an estimated $225,280.
Grotewiel said the $65,000 raised so far does not include businesses or groups that have pledged to sponsor pieces of equipment.
So far, Cowan’s Restaurant has sponsored the snack bar panel, the American Legion Post 218’s operations committee sponsored all of the swings, Unnerstall & Unnerstall CPA sponsored the chimes panel, Vickey Engel sponsored the stationary cycler and balance beam, Eagle Safety Products sponsored the sign language panel and John’s Flooring sponsored the conical climber.
Businesses or groups interested in sponsoring equipment can visit www.allabilitiespark.org for a complete list.
To donate or for questions, people may call the Jaycees at 636-239-0990, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or mail donations to P.O. Box 6, Washington, MO 63090.