A chili cook-off and cornhole tournament was held Sept. 16 at Fern Hill Country Club in Clinton Township. The fundraiser was to help bring an inclusive playground to Clinton Township.

A chili cook-off and cornhole tournament was held Sept. 16 at Fern Hill Country Club in Clinton Township. The fundraiser was to help bring an inclusive playground to Clinton Township.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Fundraiser held for Clinton Township inclusive playground

By: Alex Szwarc | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published September 22, 2021

Advertisement

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Over 100 people gathered in support of a future inclusive playground in Clinton Township the evening of Sept. 16.

A chili cook-off and cornhole tournament was held at Fern Hill Country Club in Clinton Township.

The fundraiser cost $10 to attend and $1 per tasting, with $25 for unlimited tastings. It was $50 for a two-person cornhole team.

Fundraiser attendees could vote for their favorite chili maker. There were over a dozen chili participants, ranging from members of the Clinton Township Police and Fire departments, to culinary students from Chippewa Valley and Dakota high schools.

Clinton Township Police Chief Bruce Wade represented the police department, making his homemade chili.

“If it’s a fair election, I’ll win,” Wade said. “Mine has dark red kidney beans, meat, premium tomatoes and as far as the spices go, I can’t go any farther than that. It’s a longtime family recipe.”    

Stu McIntosh, the deputy chief of operations of the Clinton Township Fire Department, was one of four members of the fire department vying for the best chili.

“Anything we can do at the department to promote anything publicly, we’re going to be right behind 100%,” he said. “It’s a friendly competition with the other people that are going to be the first, second and third losers.”

McIntosh, who has been with the department for over 30 years, said Clinton Township has always been an advocate for the public to get together socially.

The Arc of Macomb County has launched a fundraising campaign for a special playground that will allow for children of all abilities to play. The fundraising goal is to raise over $850,000.

AnnMarie Ottoy, community relations specialist for The Arc of Macomb County, said the goal was to raise $15,000 from the chili fundraiser.

The plan is for the playground to be built south of the Clinton-Macomb Public Library Main Branch, on the grounds of the Clinton Township Civic Center.

Ottoy said the goal is to break ground in the spring.

The playground will include play structures, swings, a quiet area for children overwhelmed by activities, an adaptive zipline and fitness equipment.

Clinton Township Treasurer Paul Gieleghem is a member of the Inclusive Playground Committee. He said the committee has been hard at work toward the goal of developing a playground.

“This is a commitment to making sure we are serving all of our residents,” he said. “Even though the park is for everybody, it’s going to be designed so that people with disabilities can also access this playground, so kids can play together.”

Gieleghem added that going through the process of wanting an inclusive playground, the committee found there is a significantly higher portion of families with someone with a disability in Clinton Township than elsewhere in Macomb County.

“We think it’s because the ISD is here and there are two schools that serve this population of young people and we have a lot of medical providers close by,” Gieleghem said.    

The Arc had the chance to apply for a $50,000 matching grant through GameTime. The committee would have to raise $50,000 by November. The grant was set to be submitted the week of Sept. 20, after press time.

Clinton Township Supervisor Bob Cannon said, from the time the idea came about to have an inclusive playground in the township, he wasn’t sure if that large amount of money could be raised.

“Before today, they already raised about $10,000,” he said. “It’s a start.”

The next fundraising event will be a battle of the bands Nov. 5 at the Mirage Banquet Center in Clinton Township.

Advertisement