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Letter: Park Foundation grateful for community support

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Note: The statements, views, and opinions contained in this letter to the editor are those of the author and are not endorsed by, nor do they necessarily reflect, the opinions of The Republic.

From: Dave Hayward


I have been honored to be a member of the Columbus Park Foundation for more than 10 years. During that time, I have witnessed this community wholeheartedly support the foundation. Your support has allowed the foundation to fund the expansion of our People Trails network, construct new playgrounds and other improvements at neighborhood parks, and make overdue improvements at Hamilton Center. Your support has also allowed us to offer scholarships to children who might otherwise be unable to participate in recreation programs. None of these would have been possible using only city tax funding.

When you contribute to the Park Foundation, you have the opportunity to designate how your contribution will be used. The foundation tracks every expenditure to make sure it meets our goals and the donor’s wishes. While our mission is to support parks and recreation, neither the parks department staff nor any other city officials determine how foundation funds, your contributions, are spent. Those decisions are made solely by the foundation board, based on your designation.

The Park Foundation and the Park Board are two separate and different entities. The Park Board is the city agency that manages the operation of the city’s parks and its recreation programs. The Park Board manages more than 1,000 acres of park land, 23 parks and several buildings. The Park Board members are appointed by the mayor.

The Park Foundation is a private entity that is governed by an independent board consisting of community-minded volunteers. The members have no affiliation with city government. The foundation’s funds are managed by our local community foundation, the Heritage Fund. The Park Foundation also accepts gifts of land for future parks, such as Northbrook and McCullough’s Run.

The Park Foundation has raised millions of dollars from private sources and has invested that money in this community. Imagine our community without Donner Park and pool, Mill Race Park, the People Trails and the many other facilities that we all enjoy. None of these projects would have been possible without private funding. In recent years, the Park Foundation has developed maintenance funds for playgrounds and the People Trails to minimize the impact to the city’s tax-funded budgets.

It is the goal of the Columbus Park Foundation to continue our rich tradition of high quality park facilities and recreation programs. We need the help of the community to do that. We need your continued support. In return, future generations will be able to continue to enjoy our great parks and the same quality of life amenities that we enjoy.

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