Fredericksburg’s Parks, Recreation and Events Department is seeking donations to increase recreation opportunities through a new fund, and contributions made by Oct. 15 will be met by a $10,000 challenge grant.

Department Director Jane Shelhorse, with the Fredericksburg Recreation Commission’s support, established the Fredericksburg Parks and Recreation Director’s Fund to help pay for upgrades and additions that are beyond the city’s budget. These include replacing the playground in Alum Spring Park, which was destroyed by summer storms and had to be removed for safety reasons. It hadn’t been budgeted, and insurance will cover only part of the cost of new equipment.

“In my years in Parks and Recreation, we’ve had countless inquiries from gracious residents and businesses who wanted to make tax-deductible donations directly to our parks and playgrounds,” Shelhorse said in a news release. “Anyone may support Fredericksburg’s parks and recreation opportunities by giving through the fund.”

The fund will be used to enhance, expand or preserve parks and recreation facilities, programs and outdoor spaces to increase accessibility, improve social equity and provide opportunities for healthier, more fulfilling lifestyles for city residents. Fredericksburg Parks and Recreation’s vision for the Alum Spring Park playground, for example, is to make it bigger and include pieces that incorporate accessible design so more children can enjoy it.

The playground will remain closed until the new equipment is installed next year. The rest of the park, however, remains open.

The Director’s Fund will be maintained by The Community Foundation, a Fredericksburg-based nonprofit organization that manages charitable funds. It is overseen by a committee consisting of Parks and Recreation, Recreation Commission and Community Foundation representatives. It is structured to remain in place years into the future.

“This new fund provides the options that our supporters have been seeking,” Shelhorse said. “Contributions made to the fund will be used for designated projects, such as expanding or installing new playground equipment, upgrading a trail, or even building a future park.”

The Community Foundation received an anonymous donation offering the $10,000 challenge gift shortly after news spread about the Alum Spring Park playground effort. It will match the total of all donations made to the Director’s Fund by Oct. 15, up to $10,000.

Donations to the Director’s Fund are tax deductible. Donations collected after the challenge gift deadline will be used for future projects. Contributions can be made online at cfrrr.org or mailed to The Community Foundation, Fredericksburg Parks and Recreation Director’s Fund, Box 208, Fredericksburg, VA 22404-0208. Checks should be made payable to The Fredericksburg Parks and Recreation Director’s Fund.

For more information about the Alum Spring Park playground or the Director’s Fund, contact Fredericksburg Parks, Recreation and Events by email at FredPRPF@fredericksburgva.gov or by phone at 540/372-1086.

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Cathy Jett: 540/374-5407

cjett@freelancestar.com

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