By Jan Schultz
The Imperial Republican
Campbell Park is seeing more and more traffic these days, especially from the younger set.
With last year’s addition of a $41,000 set of playground equipment and the just completed new rest room facility, both built close to the Lions picnic shelter, Campbell Park’s east end is a busy place.
This Sunday, Sept. 19, a short dedication ceremony and ice cream social will celebrate the completion of the facilities.
Imperial Mayor Annie Longan and Imperial Lions Club President Merril Humphreys will say a few words at the ceremony. All of the donors and those involved with the projects will be recognized.
Everyone attending will then be served up an ice cream sundae with a variety of toppings. The youngsters can then play on the equipment, or possibly take in some other activities.
An anonymous donor is providing the ice cream and toppings.
New residents to the community, who have moved here since January, are to receive special invitations to the event, as will clubs and donors who had a part in financing the playground equipment and/or rest rooms.
People are encouraged to bring lawn chairs. Some picnic tables are available on site.
Leslie Carlholm, the city’s community development director, said both facilities are a result of a lot of people and organizations working together.
“I really think it’s part of this community’s commitment to have facilities that are attractive to young families,” she said.
“We’ve been encouraging young families to return and relocate to Imperial so these types of facilities are important. They really are great for all generations,” she said.
The city gained a $10,000 Peter Kiewit Foundation grant for the playground equipment. Their donation provided 25 percent of the 25/75 match.
Jo Leyland, city clerk/administrator, said when they learned a couple years ago that would be the Kiewit Foundation’s final year for that particular grant program, they decided to apply.
The 75 percent match for the rest of the funding came from a variety of sources.
City sales tax money contributed $15,000, another $10,475 was included in the park budget that year, $1,000 was donated by Frenchman Valley Coop with a $1,000 match from Land O’ Lakes, $500 from Ameritas Investment Corp and $300 from the Giving Circle.
Imperial’s Nebraska Community Improvement Program (NCIP) awards from 2008 came with a $500 check, which was also earmarked for the equipment.
A “Coins for Campbell Park” fundraiser at the school, a raffle for a TV and other prizes donated by local businesses and sales of notecards helped fund the rest, Leyland said.
The new rest rooms built close by were spearheaded by the Imperial Lions Club, but it also had financial support from several sources.
City sales tax funds contributed $7,000, a $4,000 grant was received from the Imperial Community Foundation and other donors included Imperial Rotary Club $1,000 with another $1,000 donated by the Rotary District, Imperial Purity Lodge $1,000, Eagles Auxiliary $1,000, Giving Circle $200 and Imperial Education Association $100.
The Lions Club is providing more than half of the project cost which will exceed $30,000, and has contributed hundreds of hours of donated labor from its members.
The facility has two separate rest rooms, one for men and one for women. They are handicap accessible, and due to the strength of the walls, can also serve as a storm shelter if needed.
The exterior features a decorative block topped with a green steel roof that matches the picnic shelter nearby.
The picnic shelter was also constructed by the Lions Club several years ago in memory of longtime Lions member Rodney Einspahr.
In addition, the Lions Club provides the wooden picnic tables in Campbell Park, and in the other city parks, and maintains them each year.
Sometimes, communities don’t take the time to celebrate the good things, city officials said.
“This Sunday will be a way to celebrate both of these new facilities,” Leyland said.