Park

Jasper Newton Foundation Park’s pavilion recently had its roof attached. The park also has new bike racks installed.

RENSSELAER — Representatives of the Parks for People Campaign recently announced the kickoff of a second patronicity matching grant opportunity, which will run from the present time to “Tick-tock Day” at the end of the year.

“Tick-tock day is Dec. 29, so that’s when it ends,” said Project Coordinator Stace Pickering.

Just as with the previous grant the campaign sought, donors must raise $50,000, so that the amount will be matched, making for a total of $100,000. The grant would be provided through the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority.

The campaign began in 2017 to raise $1.5 million for three local projects in town. The first and second are improvements and upgrades to Brookside Park and the space referred to as the Monnett/Staddon property along South College Avenue (now known as the Jasper Newton Foundation Park). The third project was the now-completed Rensselaer Republican Dog Park along Bunkum Road.

As of this week, the campaign only has to raise approximately $204,000 to meet its goal.

The grant money will be used to get even closer to the goal, and specifically to continue the work being done at Brookside Park. This includes paving approximately 1,500 feet of walking paths, installing decorative lighting along the 1,500 feet of walking paths; connecting the 1,500 feet of new paths to those in neighboring Weston Cemetery; ensuring accessibility for all ages and abilities with special amenities; increasing safety with lighting for parking spots adjacent to the Blacker Field Complex that will service all of the amenities; and creating a metal and masonry arched entry to the complex.

The funds will only be matched if the campaign raises $50,000. If it does not meet this goal by Dec. 29, the funds will not be matched and the campaign will receive no additional money.

“We’re revisiting a lot of people we talked with before,” Pickering said of the campaign’s donors. “We’re asking donors who donated before to make an extra pledge. Some people said, ‘Check back in later.’”

In any case, the campaign is now somewhat unique in that it has received a matching grant twice. But the scale of the project helped convince some people it would be a wise investment.

“It is not common, that’s for sure,” Pickering said of the repeated opportunity. “They saw how much we’re doing, how many different projects we’re doing and how it’s not just one park, it’s multiple parks. So that was really attractive to them.”

Online donations can be made by visiting Patronicity.com and typing “A Walkable Brookside Park” to see the fundraiser.

Check donations will be accepted at the Jasper Newton Foundation, P.O. Box 295, Rensselaer, or dropped off at the foundation at 301 N. Van Rensselaer St.

As of Thursday, the grant fund had already received $3,800 in donations.