BY MATT MENCARINI | STAFF WRITER
A lot can change in the course of a couple days.
Following an email blast from Project Manager Mike Bowen, challenging officials to put their money where their mouths are, Project ROMP raised $13,000 over the course of four days last week, an amount which will be matched by the city. That brings the group's grand total to $95,230, enough to commit to ordering materials and setting a project start date — but not enough to completely end the fundraising.
"Now, we’re gonna be able to do everything we wanted to do,” said Mike Bowen, coordinator in charge of the project to renovate the 19-year-old Magic Forest Rainbow Park, at 440 N. Nova Road. “We’re not (so) worried about getting money anymore. We’re worried about getting volunteers.”
Sylvia Frost, the group’s volunteer coordinator, sent an email to just about anyone who may have seemed interested in giving money to the project. Bowen followed up on the email. And donations began to roll in.
It’s been a long process for Bowen and Project ROMP to get to this point, though. The fundraising deadline was extended, in September, and then it was extended again, in November.
Bowen said there were conversations about eliminating or changing some features of the park, but with the recent influx of donations, that's no longer a concern. The park will be built as it was designed.
Demolition week, which consists of site and equipment prep, starts Feb. 4, and the following Monday, Feb. 11, construction will begin. Work on the park will take a week to complete.
The project is also still under its target budget, which was set over $100,000. Donations, big and small, are still being accepted for its maintenance budget.
There will be a donut sale Dec. 18, at Pine Trails Elementary. Boxes of donuts will be sold after school, for $7, with 50% of proceeds benefiting ROMP.
And while the money may no longer be the biggest obstacle, there are new obstacles, like volunteers and tools.
And volunteers can be anyone, Frost said. The group has jobs for craftsman volunteers, the same as amateur ones.
Parents can also bring their children to work (14 years and older). There will even be a daycare-like facility, where children younger than 14 can be supervised and even help with small tasks.
Frost and Bowen said they’re currently looking for a childcare coordinator, and hope a local facility will step up.
The group is in need of tools, as well, especially smaller ones (rakes, saws, extension cords, levels, etc.). Most of the larger equipment has already been donated.
“We’re responsible for tools once their checked in,” Jim Bowen, tools coordinator, said. “Saws will be given new saw blades, so people get a new saw blade when they get their saw back.”
After close to three years of planning and fundraising, Project ROMP overcame a big financial hurdle. Now, it’s time to get building.
Want to help?
Call Ron Doherty: 717-7799.
Email Mike Bowen: [email protected]
Email Jim Bowen: [email protected]