Chickasha relying on citizens’ generosity to pay for city park

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CHICKASHA, Okla. - The City of Chickasha is taking on a different approach to raise money to help renovate a neighborhood park.

Organizers are using a technique called “crowd funding,” which reaches out to the community to come up with cash for projects the city doesn’t have money to complete.

Centennial Park in Chickasha is a wide open space with a lot of potential.

Terry Mayo said, "There's really nothing in this area here but this."

Work needs to be done, like building a new playground, adding park amenities and fixing drainage issues.

Wayne Burns, director of parks and recreation, said, "This is why I get up every day, see projects like this come through."

The city has already put $185,000 toward improvements, but now is asking citizens for help.

Donations that organizers say could make this park stand out above the rest.

Mayor Hank Ross, with the City of Chickasha, said, "We all have big dreams of what we like to do from a city's standpoint, recreation and parks and bike paths. But there's never enough money to go around to do those projects, so it takes private investment to do those kinds of things."

Chickasha is the first city in Oklahoma to 'crowd fund' a public project.

Their goal is to raise $100,000.

It's a big task but city officials hope residents, like Terry Mayo, will help out.

Mayo said,"I think it's time that the citizens realize that we hold the power and we're the ones that need to be providing money for our communities, instead of relying on the federal government, who's strapped anyway."

As an added bonus, expert say every dollar raised from citizens can be written off as a donation on their taxes.

It's a small incentive but it could have a big impact on the neighborhood park.

Burns said, "It's just going to be a jewel to the community."

Mayo said, "It will give some pride of what we were able to accomplish here."

The 'crowd fund' received their first large donation of $1,000 from the mayor’s business, Ross Health Care.

Citizens who donate will be asked to enter their credit card information.

However, officials say the credit cards will not be charged unless the project reaches 100 percent of its goal before the deadline, which is May 31.

The city hopes to have Phase 2 of the Centennial Park renovation project finished by July 1.

After that, Phase 3 will get started with parking additions and a new pavilion.

For more information, visit the Chickasha website.

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