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Chicopee uses crowdsourcing to raise funds for playground

Aug. 15, 2014 | By G. Michael Dobbs

Mayor Richard Kos (center) made the first donation to the Nash Playground through www.citizinvestor.com on Aug. 8. He is seen here with Planner Lee Pouliot and Carolyn Porter, the superintendent of the Parks and Recreation Department.
Reminder Publications photo by G. Michael Dobbs

CHICOPEE – The city needs to raise $5,400 in order to meet the needs of a grant to build a new playground at Nash Park in Willimansett and is trying something new: crowdsourcing.
On Aug. 8, Mayor Richard Kos became the first person to give to the playground fundraiser through www.citizinvestor.com with a donation of $50.
“This is a great opportunity to do something we’ve done before but in a new way,” Kos said. He added this is way for people who have Chicopee natives who are living elsewhere to contribute to their hometown.
Noting the history of the park, the description of the project on the website reads. “Nash Park was dedicated in 1925. Named for a prominent and influential Willimansett family, the city established the park in hopes of bringing a sense of the natural environment to the industrial-focused, hard-working mill village.”
The mayor explained the website is designed just for municipalities wishing to raise money for various projects. As of Aug. 12, $440 has been donated with 85 days left in the fundraising period.
Kos credited Lee Pouliot, planner and administrator, for the innovative approach.
Pouliot explained that two years ago the city received Playful City USA status, which designated it as a community that showcases of the concept of play and physical activity for children. It was a necessary step in order to apply for a grant from KaBoom!, the charitable arm of the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, which helps builds playgrounds around the nation.
KaBoom! donated $20,000, the city has allocated $16,500 in Community Development Block Grants funds and the last $5,000 was approved by the City Council. Kos said the money raised  by the crowdsourcing campaign would replace the $5,000 in city funds.
There will also be a one-hour telethon at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 4 over the cable access channel 5 to aid the campaign.
Carolyn Porter the superintendent of the Parks and Recreation Department, explained the design for the new playground came through suggestions from children at the Chicopee Boys & Girls Club.
She said she “really appreciated the teamwork and the collaboration across departments in the city” that made the project possible.
She said the construction date of the new playground will be Aug. 30 and the equipment, which is designed for younger children.

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