BRITT | The Lions Park Playground Committee still needs to raise nearly $120,000 if it hopes to replace equipment at the park in Britt it’s named after before next summer.

Pam Aitchison, committee member and Britt Parks and Recreation Board president, said the committee has about $62,000, including $45,000 set aside by the parks and rec board, for the project since it began its fundraising efforts in June.

“I think we can definitely get it,” she said. “We’re a third of the way there, and that’s without any grants and support from the school and other businesses yet.”

For the past year, the playground committee, consisting of 10 local members, has been discussing and researching new equipment options that are handicap accessible and offer “a lot more play opportunities” for the park’s two play areas: one for children 2 to 5 years old and the other for children 5 to 12 years old.

Much of the park’s current equipment is about 30 years old, Aitchison estimated, noting the city’s and committee’s interest in updating the park comes after the Lion’s Club built a new picnic shelter.

“It has the opportunity to be somewhere where people come,” she said. “I know when my family wants to go to the park, we go to Ventura because that’s the closest one that’s been updated.

“We just want to be that for other people, too ... We want it to be a place where people can come.”

The playground committee’s work began after the city of Britt allocated $150,000 to the parks and recreation board for it to make much-needed updates to all the city’s parks.

Of that money, a “large chunk” is going toward redoing one of the two ball diamonds at Centennial Park and $45,000 has been set aside for the Lions Park project.

Aitchison said it’s her dream to replace the current fenced court at Lions Park with a half basketball court and half tennis court setup, but right now, the Park and Rec Board’s focus is on updating the playground.

To raise additional funds for the Lions Park project, the playground committee held a bake sale during Sunday Funday, had a booth on Main Avenue during the RAGBRAI’s stop in Britt and mailed fliers to residential and rural Britt residents this summer. Those efforts have garnered about $17,000.

“It’s been awesome,” Aitchison said. “We’ve got people who’ve given anywhere from $20 to $1,000 as individuals, and we’ve had businesses give more than that. People are really willing to give.”

In August, the Britt City Council unanimously approved submitting grants requesting $40,000 from both the John K. and Luise V. Hanson Foundation and the Worth County Development Authority for the Lions Park. Aitchison said the recipients will be announced this fall.

“Even if we got half of that, it’d be amazing,” Aitchison said. “We’re definitely going for every grant we can.”

The playground committee’s next fundraiser is a fall gala. It will be held from 7 to 11 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 10, at the Britt Country Club. Aitchison said more information and tickets will be available in the coming weeks.

“Anything we can do to add value to our town is important,” she said.

For more information or to donate to the Lions Park project, call City Hall at 641-843-4433.

Reach Reporter Ashley Stewart at 641-421-0533. Follow her on Twitter at GGastewart.

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