CRANBERRY TWP — The Cranberry Township Community Chest this month is kicking off its campaign to fund the 2013 Community Project of the Year to replace Playtime Palace.
Playtime Palace in the Community Park off Route 19 will be replaced with the new Kids Castle — Cranberry Uniting Playground.
Township supervisors in December jump-started the project by approving the design work.
Now, the capital fundraising campaign begins in earnest to have the new play area ready for children in the fall.
Thanks to a $175,000 donation from the Cranberry CUP (Community Uniting People), and a $50,000 commitment from CTCC, the total raised as of Jan. 1 is $225,000.
The goal is to raise $495,000. The remaining balance will be raised through a capital campaign to make the playground a reality for dedication in September.
The Cranberry Eagle will track the weekly progress of the fundraising campaign, and key donors will have the opportunity to be recognized for their generosity.
The CTCC also is hoping to enlist a large group of volunteers to assist in the effort. It is recruiting more than 100 Playground Ambassadors to help spread the news and boost awareness of the project within the community.
Bruce Mazzoni, CTCC treasurer, explained that an ambassador to the playground will spend six to 10 hours of time over the next four months, mostly working from his or her home.
“We are asking that the ambassador help us bring awareness of the needs of the new playground to your friends, neighbors, churches, civic organizations and businesses. It can be done in various ways including preparing a handwritten note and envelope to be sent to neighbors and friends,” said Mazzoni.
“Sending a package of information on the playground with a handwritten note to their friends and neighbors will have a much bigger impact on them than one being sent by someone that they do not know.”
All materials and postage would be paid for by CTCC.
Ideally, Mazzoni said, CTCC would like to have at least one Playground Ambassador in every neighborhood and in the larger neighborhoods, two to four people.
“We want our Playground Ambassadors to emphasize that our needs are more than money as we also need volunteers to help with the community built portion, and we hope to receive in-kind services from businesses that have specific skills or products that we need,” he said.
“Our success to raise the money and recruit the necessary volunteers truly depends on us convincing 100-plus people to become a Playground Ambassador.”
There are recognition levels for ambassadors who help CTCC.
More details on becoming an ambassador can be found at www.ctchest.org.
“We hope to appeal to our residents desire to truly help our community and make a difference in building a playground that tens of thousands of children and families will enjoy — maybe even your own,” said Mazzoni.
“There is no greater fulfillment than saying, ‘I helped make that playground happen.’ This is a chance for our residents to make a difference.”
The new playground will feature a customized overhead entrance that will incorporate the clock tower of the Playtime Palace.
This will take visitors to a center stage where children can perform and play while parents and other children can sit on the stage. Beyond the stage area visitors will have a choice of going to Cranberry Past, Present or Future areas of the playground.
The Past Area will consist of swings, climbing areas, rolling hills, riding animals and a large portion of the wood from the Playtime Palace will be reused for fencing and a separate climbing area.
The Present Area will be a custom-built play area almost in the same way Playtime Palace was done.
The clock tower will be similar to the municipal building tower except there will be many paths to climb it and slides to come down. All building materials will be no-maintenance, long-life materials.
The Future Area will consist of futuristic EVOS play structures and Mobius climbers, a bobble rider and other equipment reflecting the latest in playground technology.
There will be many other aspects to the park, including picnic areas, picnic tables, benches and play lawns lined with decorated stepping stones.
Mazzoni said there are a variety of ways, amounts and recognition levels available for donors to choose.
To donate, make checks payable to “CTCC-Playground” and mail them to: CTCC, 2525 Rochester Road, Suite 450, Cranberry Township, PA 16066.
For more information, visit the CTCC’s website: www.ctcchest.org; e-mail Mazzoni at: email@example.com or call 724-776-4806, Ext. 1103.