CHAMPLAIN — The Champlain Village Board has been on a merry-go-round to get funding for a new playground.
The village applied for a grant through North Country Regional Development and is holding fundraisers, too.
“The grant isn’t definite,” Village Trustee Amy Gehrig said, “but we will keep pushing for (grants) even if we are denied here.”
They will persevere for the playground to be up in downtown Champlain by next summer, she said.
Why a playground?
“Because there is nothing in the community” to provide recreation for children, Gehrig said.
When Champlain Elementary School closed in 2003, that playground was no longer available for use, nor were the baseball and soccer fields there.
Whatever the grant amounts to, the village has to match it.
“It can range; we don’t know, it could be up to $20,000,” Gehrig said of the grant amount.
The playground would attract families to spend time in downtown Champlain, where many this summer and last year also tended plots in the village’s Community Garden. Sunday, a crowd turned out for the village’s first Music by the River event, featuring local talent, said Mayor Greg Martin. And plans are in the works to hold another one soon.
Another downtown event coming up is Village Fest, set for noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 18, at the park on River Street. It features a free ice-cream social, pony rides, music by Jim Tatro and demonstrations and displays by agencies, including the Champlain Fire District and Champlain EMS. The Samuel de Champlain Museum nearby will also be open to the public.
Many houses and other buildings on River Street and downtown Main Street were demolished or moved several years ago due to recurrent flooding, so such efforts are aimed at bringing new life to the village there.
The playground would be located near the garden, which is situated between Main Street on the south and Water Street to the north.
The plan is to also have a basketball court and then to flood it in the winter and make an ice rink. It would be a place for families to enjoy, Gehrig said.
Some fundraising has already begun, with a Movie Night set for Sunday, Aug. 5. The event, part of the Dunkin’ Donuts Family Movie Tour, had originally been set up to raise money for St. Mary’s Academy, located in the village.
When that school was closed for good earlier this month, Gehrig — who was in charge of fundraising for the school — was asked if she needed money for anything else. The playground was an easy choice, she said.
Another fundraiser being planned is a community garage sale that will take place sometime this month.
The movie playing at River Street Park on Aug. 5 will be “Dolphin Tales,” at about 8 p.m. First, starting at 6 p.m., there will be games, along with Papa John’s pizza and Dunkin’ Donuts available for purchase.
Movie admission will be free.
Gehrig is looking for people to wear caricature costumes for the movie night — reach her at 298-2829.
To contribute to the Village of Champlain playground, send checks to the Village Office, 1104 Route 9 Main St., Champlain, NY 12919. Write “donation for playground” on the memo line.
For more information, call 298-4152.
— News Editor Suzanne Moore
contributed to this report