Attention Readers: We're Back
C&G Newspapers is pleased to have resumed publication. For the time being, our papers will publish on a biweekly basis as we work toward our return to weekly papers. In between issues, and anytime, continue to find local news on our website and look for us on Facebook and Twitter.
 Flanders Park, which sits on the former Flanders Elementary School site adjacent to the Farmington Meadows subdivision,  currently includes minimal, old playground equipment.

Flanders Park, which sits on the former Flanders Elementary School site adjacent to the Farmington Meadows subdivision, currently includes minimal, old playground equipment.

Photo provided by Joe LaRussa


6 local restaurants join community fundraiser for Flanders Park

Farmington Area Jaycees to host weeklong fundraiser

By: Jonathan Shead | Farmington Press | Published February 17, 2020

 A rendering of the playscape Flanders Park fundraising organizers would like to purchase for the park if they reach their $40,000 goal.

A rendering of the playscape Flanders Park fundraising organizers would like to purchase for the park if they reach their $40,000 goal.

Image provided by Joe LaRussa

Advertisement

FARMINGTON — A fundraiser that began as a grassroots, neighborhood-funded project to bring a new playscape to Flanders Park has picked up support from the Farmington Area Jaycees and six local businesses.

Flanders Park sits at the former Flanders Elementary School site, adjacent to the Farmington Meadows subdivision, on Farmington Road, between Eight and Nine Mile roads.

The Jaycees will host a fundraising event, “Dine Out for Flanders Park,” Feb. 23-29 with six participating restaurants:

• Browndog Creamery will donate a portion of proceeds from orders Feb. 23-29.

• Sidecar Slider Bar will donate 20% from orders Feb. 23.

• Peterlin’s Restaurant and Bar will donate 20% from orders Feb. 24.

• The Rolling Stoves will donate a portion of proceeds from orders Feb. 25.

• Basement Burger Bar will donate 20% from orders Feb. 26.

• Bellacino’s Pizza will donate 10% from orders Feb. 27.

Patrons must mention “Dine Out for Flanders Park” or show the fundraiser flyer to have their order included.

A 50/50 raffle and raffle baskets will be featured throughout the week to help raise money.

Sarah Davies, a Jacyees member, community activist and Flanders Elementary School graduate, is spearheading the weeklong fundraiser. She said the idea came to fruition because “it’s a great way to get a big chunk of money as quick as we can.”

With the project currently less than a quarter funded — community organizers have raised approximately $7,500 of a $40,000 goal — the need for a large chunk of money is certainly there. The group’s goal was to raise the $40,000 by last fall.

Despite all this, Davies isn’t the least bit discouraged.

“I’m confident we’re going to get there, and I’m not done. This is just one of however many fundraisers we need to have. I’m working on the next one already. I’m really hopeful. I think we can do it.”

While Davies said it would be great to raise $10,000 from the weeklong fundraiser, Farmington City Council member and project organizer Joe LaRussa is expecting the number to be closer to $2,500. LaRussa said the city also plans to kick in $10,000 from its budget once the group reaches $40,000.

The hope of revitalizing the park as a fun place for kids to play and families and community members to gather is what underlies the need for the fundraiser, LaRussa said.

“Flanders Park is the only municipal park in south Farmington. I would take my kids to the park, and they would ask me to take them somewhere else,” he said. “When I started talking to some of my neighbors — there’s a lot of young families in the Farmington Meadows neighborhood — quite a few of them were dissatisfied with the state of the park and lack of equipment.”

After the closing of Flanders Elementary School, LaRussa said, two playscapes from the school’s previous playground were removed to make room for new housing and couldn’t be reinstalled because they didn’t meet inspection requirements. Used equipment from other playgrounds was brought out from storage, which is what can be seen at the park today.

The park used to be a “big cornerstone for the community,” Davies said,  but now there seems to be little to no investment in making it a nice place to play for kids. She admits the park may not return to its former glory, but she hopes it can return to being the community hub it once was.

For Josh Mansfield, the owner of The Rolling Stoves and a Farmington Meadows resident, Flanders Park is what provided him a great childhood.

He joined in the fundraiser with The Rolling Stoves because he’d like to see his children and his neighbors’ children have the same great childhood experiences he had. The Rolling Stoves held a fundraiser in December for the park, raising $745.

“Being able to be part of restoring a place like that, where kids have the opportunity to have a great childhood, that should be the goal as parents and adults. Kids are the future. They always will be. We have to pour into them. … I think the park is a great example of that.”

For more information, visit the Farmington Area Jaycees on Facebook. To donate, visit gofundme.com/f/flanders-park-playscape.

Advertisement