When Leadership Duncan Class XIV chose to replace the fence around Kiddieland in Fuqua Park, it at first looked like a daunting project with a goal of raising $20,000.
However, after much community generosity, plans are moving forward to make it all happen. Most recently, class member Gina Flesher wrote an application for a grant from the McCasland Foundation, which was accepted. The class will be receiving a $10,000 grant from the foundation.
“The McCasland Foundation has long supported many projects in Duncan,” said Curtis Thornton, project manager for the class. “On behalf of the Leadership Duncan Class XIV, I want to thank them for their generosity and support of this project.”
Kiddieland has been around since the Kiwanis Club installed it at least 50 years ago. That group still is in charge of the rides park. The current fencing is original to the park, therefore, it is old and takes away from the attractiveness of the park.
The class’ goal is to put up a newer, more attractive fence that is also safer. It will serve the purpose of keeping children inside the park while it’s open and keeping everyone out after hours.
“That fence and park is seen by more people a day in Duncan than maybe anything else because of its location near Main and off of Highway 81,” said Thornton. “It needs to be replaced and the bids we got at first were discouraging.”
When planning began on the fence project, the bids the class got in were so high, they were deemed unattainable. Then the City of Duncan agreed to absorb the cost of demolition and removal of the current fence, creating a significant savings, Thornton said.
Fundraising kicked off May 2012 with a hot dog cookout and Kiddieland day. Additionally, Dan Neal with Neal Consulting offered to provide labor for the project, adding another discount to the project.
“He’s virtually furnishing all the labor and that made the (cost) where it will work out,” said Thornton. “He said, ‘I’m doing it for the kids, I want to be a part of that.’”
After receiving the McCasland Foundation grant, total funds raised are now at about $12,600. The class was looking at a project that would take them years to complete, but now have a closer completion date in mind. Thornton said spirits were high at the class’ monthly meeting Tuesday night.
“The feed back was really good and everybody is excited about it,” he said. “When we got the McCasland grant, we said ‘we’re more than halfway there now, we can do this.’”
Thornton said the class is applying for more grants and planning more fundraisers such as another hot dog cookout if it is approved. They fully intend for the project to be completed this fall after the Kiddieland season is over.
“The Kiwanis Club has been great to work with and it’s been a great partnership,” said Thornton. “There will be a lot of people interested in putting their mark on this project because Kiddieland has been an institution in Duncan for so many years.”
Thornton said anyone interested in donating to replacing the fence can ask for him at Bank of Commerce, where there is an account set up for the project.