Elk Grove group raises funds for regional park playground

06/27/2013 12:00 AM

06/27/2013 8:03 AM

For the past two years, a group of Elk Grove residents has been trying to build a place for kids to play and families to gather at the city's regional park.

They recently have launched a new fundraising effort that involves selling shares of land that will go toward rebuilding a pirate-themed playground at the park.

The group, Pirate's Island Partners, believes people will want to contribute so that what they create will be a high-end playground for generations of Elk Grove kids.

"People can go out there and say 'I own that,' " said Pirate's Island Partners President Stuart Smith.

"It will be a lasting legacy for anyone who wants to do that."

The group also hopes the land grants will help to re-create the history of Elk Grove Regional Park itself.

Jenny Smith, the Cosumnes Community Services District liaison to the project, said that in the early 1900s community members created Elk Grove Regional Park themselves when they personally bought shares of the land.

"We're kind of repeating history," Smith said.

So far, three out of 435 land grants have been sold to raise money for the playground that will sit on an acre of land, about three times the size of a typical playground, according to Smith.

Organizers are selling each share for $100, hoping to raise $43,500 for the playground.

The entire project is estimated to cost $1.5 million and will take about two to three years to complete.

So far, Pirate's Island Partners have raised $130,000, including a $100,000 donation from Cosumnes CSD.

"That's where the naming rights come in," Jenny Smith said.

Many fundraising projects rely on community members and local businesses to buy an area of the playground where their name will be displayed.

"It's never been done in Elk Grove," said Stuart Smith. However, because the park, located next to a fully developed neighborhood, couldn't be funded by developer fees the group has had to seek funds elsewhere.

Smith said the park is one of the oldest in California and does not include a playground.

The project is also touted as a place for families to gather.

"Basically we want to bring it back to the gathering place that it used to be 30 years ago," said Jenny Smith.

Call The Bee's Brittany Torrez, (916) 321-1103.

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