The deadline is Dec. 6 for organizers to come up with $50,000, which would be matched by the Michigan Economic Development Corp.
The campaign began Oct. 24. So far, donations total a little more than $25,000.
“We have an amazing opportunity to create a park from scratch,” said Village Councilwoman and project organizer Megan Doss. “A park that could embrace the name, Whistle Stop.”
The plans call for a train-themed playground to commemorate the former Interurban railroad that ran through the site, located between Park and Division streets, north of Savidge Street. The park is located behind the Admiral gas station at 315 W. Savidge St.
The old playground equipment along Lakeside Trail was removed last year because it had broken down and was potentially dangerous.
The plans include a “poured in place” surface to accommodate wheelchairs, strollers and walkers.
Doss said the new playground will cost about $150,000 to build, and the hope is to break ground on it next spring.
“All donations from the community, up to $50,000, will be matched by the MEDC,” she said. “If you donate $1, it is actually a $2 donation. We are asking for donors of all sizes — $1, $5, $20, $50, $100 — but we are also asking for local organizations to get together and embrace this playground with sponsorships. We want everyone to help make this dream a reality. Every penny counts.”
Doss said she's pleased to be halfway there, and hopes the community carries the project over the top.
“This playground is located on the bike path that connects into Grand Haven and Ferrysburg,” she said. “As a mom of two boys, many times I have searched all over Northwest Ottawa County for cool parks.
“Please don't count yourself out if you don't live in the village,” Doss added. “If you have children and grandchildren, or you, too, utilized a magical playground in the past, please help us raise funds.”
Katharine Czarnecki, vice president of community development for the MEDC, said if the campaign reaches $50,000, the $50,000 grant match would come from funds made possible by Public Spaces Community Places, a program of the state economic development agency and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority.
“The Whistle Stop Playground will serve as a legacy piece for the village and enhance civic engagement and pride for residents,” Czarnecki said. “MEDC is glad to partner in this campaign and create a community space in Spring Lake.”
If you'd like to donate, visit www.patronicity.com/whistlestop. For more information, call Village Hall at 616-842-1393.