The Town of Oro Valley is a finalist in a competition to receive a $25,000 grant that would pay for handicap playground equipment at a local park, but its chance to win lies in the hands of the public.
In celebration of being in business 40 years, the Keg Steakhouse & Bar started a national campaign to donate $1 million in grants. The Thanks a Million campaign sought project proposals nationwide, with plans to donate $25,000 to 40 programs.
Oro Valley hopes to win one of those 40 grants to fund the construction of an integrated and universally accessible playground for children with special needs in James D. Kriegh Park.
In March, David Alsenstat, Keg president and CEO said, “For 40 years, the Keg has been committed to the communities in which we operate and where our success has taken root. The Thanks a Million campaign is our way of giving back to those communities and showing our support in an even more tangible way while encouraging others to become involved in their community.”
Running until April 30, the project list was wide open from community organizations to schools, cities, towns and counties applying.
The list of finalists was recently announced, with the Oro Valley project to make a park more accessible to handicap children made the list.
The Oro Valley project is one of five proposals that made the list in Arizona. The highest vote-getting projects in each of the 40 regions will receive the $25,000. Voting will continue through June 14.
Paul Evans, general manager of Oro Valley’s own Keg Steakhouse & Bar said he was excited to have a local project make the final cut.
“I love that we always give back to the community, and I think it would be great to have $25,000 of those grants spent right here at home,” he said. “While we always donate to various charities throughout the year – this is a big one. Giving $1 million in honor of 40 years is a great program.”
However, making the final list doesn’t mean the project will be funded. Now, it is up to the people to make it possible. The 40 projects will be chosen by popular vote.
As Evans said, anyone with an email address can get online and vote on the website, www.thekegthanksamillion.com. On the page, go to view project by region, choose Arizona and vote on the Oro Valley project.
Currently, the Oro Valley project ranks third out of the five projects, with the Phoenix Organization, Andrea’s Closet, standing in first place in voting with its “Bringing smiles one toy at a time” campaign.
Ainsley Legner, the Oro Valley parks recreation library and cultural resources director, said it was a community and staff effort to come up with the project that was finally chosen for Oro Valley.
The Town of Oro Valley currently has four parks, but there are not any integrated and universally accessible playgrounds located in close proximity to the Town of Oro Valley and its residents. The closest accessibility-designed playground is at Christopher Columbus Park in Pima County, which is a drive of at least 7.2 miles away. Other accessible playgrounds are up to 16 miles away.
The proposed playground will be 40 feet by 60 feet. It will be constructed on a synthetic, rubberized cement surface that is used for playground safety. The area will also provide easy connections with adjacent sidewalks that traverse the park, as well as a nearby nature trail. Located within the new accessible playground will be several pieces of playground equipment that will encourage fun, learning and interaction.
The cost for the project is estimated at $10,000 for the playground equipment, and $15,000 for the purchase and installation of the surface. Town staff, service club volunteers and community residents will provide labor and associated tasks.
If the funding is awarded, officials estimate the new addition will be be complete within the required one-year time frame.
To vote, visit www.thekegthanksamillion.com, go to view project by region, choose Arizona, and vote on the Oro Valley project to build a playground for children with special needs. The deadline to vote is June 14.