KENTLAND — With two large donations being announced last week, the fundraising campaign for a new and renovated Batton Park in Kentland is 30 percent ($59,950) to its goal of $200,000.

Last week a $10,000 donation from Kentland Bank, which included matching funds from the Jasper Newton Foundation was announced with a ceremonial check presentation.

Lilly Endowment Inc. started the GIFT Initiative (Giving Indiana Funds for Tomorrow) in the early 1990s as a way to bolster the community foundations in the state. All 92 counties in Indiana have a community foundation — much like the Jasper Newton Foundation that serves our area. From time to time, Lilly Endowment creates a matching initiative to grant monies to each community foundation. GIFT VII was launched in 2018 with a generous $2 to $1 matching option for unrestricted fund donations. With the donation from Kentland Bank — Newton County has accomplished their $2 to $1 match available through GIFT VII.

Also last week, a $25,000 donation from Jefferson Township and Trustee Jacob Shufflebarger was announced.

The early plans for the new 1-acre park include age-appropriate, state-of-the-art equipment, and surfaces, as well as a walking path for additional exercise opportunities.

It will be set in the same area as the proposed Thrive Intergenerational Campus.

“We are hopeful that we will have shovels in the ground this spring,” said Mike Davis, Kentland Opportunity Zone Task Force Director, about the Thrive project which is an estimated $4.5 million investment that would include a senior living facility, a childcare center, and wellness complex.

At a recent Kentland Redevelopment Commission meeting, Mike Rowe (Town Councilmember and Redevelopment Commission member) said that the environmental study has been done and an email should come back soon with favorable results.

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