Texas Parks and Wildlife Department awarded the village of Salado a $150,000 small community grant for its planned renovations at Pace Park — improvements that will include the construction of an all-abilities playground and native landscaping on site.
Tiffany Schreiner, who spearheads Sirena Fest, an annual fundraising event that helps raise money for developments at Pace Park, said they have been working toward this goal for the past four years.
“Celebrating inclusivity is at the heart of our efforts in partnership with the village of Salado,” Schreiner told the Telegram. “We hope to be a part of this project for years to come.”
Although former Salado Alderman Amber Dankert said the grant approval came much later than expected, she emphasized how it will allow more time for planning.
“It was later than we had hoped for, but it gives us more time to fundraise .... and we’ll be able to present a better product for the community,” she said. “It also gives us more time to invite more investors who would like to come on board and potentially donate money for the playground.”
Dankert — who said plans are for construction to begin “as soon as possible” — noted how there will be opportunities for local stakeholders to provide input in the near future. However, no dates are currently set.
“We’re actually going to be doing that really soon … that’s what the beauty of this is,” she said. “We’ll get some schematics out so people can see (the plans), because nothing is set in stone at this point.”
Even the equipment and flooring, which is currently estimated at $135,000, could fluctuate in price.
“As we’re able to do more planning and to add more to the playground, that (estimate) may grow ... so I want people to be patient with us knowing that we’re trying to produce the best possible playground for the entire community,” Dankert said.
In October, about $115,000 in cash funds had been raised to date — funding that included a sizeable contribution from the village of Salado.
“For the first time in a really long time, the village of Salado earmarked $50,000 for upgrades to Pace Park, which we’re really excited about,” Dankert said at the time. “We haven’t had a lot of cohesive village support for upgrades to Pace Park in a long time.”
Macey, a territory sales manager with GameTime Playgrounds, previously said he is open to the community assisting with the site preparation phase before his company installs the new equipment.
“If you guys find in-kind donations or a group who wants to move the big (landscaping) rocks at the location, that’s great,” he said. “That will help us on the total budget.”
Each donator — whether it’s an in-kind or monetary contribution — will receive a tax receipt for their donation from Variety Texas, a 501(c)3 organization.
“I think this is going to be a really beautiful addition to our sweet community because it’s really needed right now,” Dankert said. “Our current playground is kind of falling apart, so why not build something where everybody can play.