A Short History on the Playground Committee

The regeneration of Fairview’s playgrounds was first envisioned out of the Conversations Fairview forums in September 2010 (led by former board member Lindsay Meads), where concerned residents gathered to share ideas on improving our community.

After discussions with the City of Calgary we learned that, although Fairview’s playgrounds are aging and in some cases unsafe and below code, they were not a top priority for replacement and would not likely be on the City’s radar for improvements for many years. However, the City of Calgary fully supported our playground regeneration efforts and would, if we raised the necessary funds for equipment replacement, provide us with all of the site preparation work for new playground equipment (removal of old equipment and substrate, creating a new footprint and border and adding new substrate).

After putting a call out for other concerned parents wanting better and safer playgrounds, the Playground Committee was formed in Feb 2011, co-chaired by Fairview Community Association board members Melody Eisenbart and Tracy Sanford. At our first meeting, in which eight residents were in attendance, we had three playground companies present their proposals for our playgrounds. We selected BDI Play Designs Inc., a distributor for Blue Imp playgrounds, as they produce equipment in Alberta, they are one of the most established companies in the business, and produce high quality steel equipment that will last a long time. Our committee has grown to 25 concerned parents with all levels of commitment. By way of committee vote, we chose to focus our first playground regeneration on Flavelle Park.After much back and forth with BDI, we came up with the playground design you see on this page.

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Our first fundraiser was a Cookie Walk in conjunction with Fairview’s Spring Fling event in May 2011. A cookie walk is a simple fundraiser where volunteers bake batches of cookies for us to sell. The cookies are collected from the bakers, then displayed around tables. Customers then purchase either a small box ($5) or large box ($10) and fill them up! We raised over $600 in a 5 hour period!

Our second fundraiser was our Bottle Drive in conjunction with Fairview’s Hazardous Waste Round Up in late May 2011. Trail Bottle Depot assisted us with collecting and sorting refundable beverage containers and generous Fairview residents supplied us with over $1000 in bottle returns!

Our next fundraiser was our biggest undertaking, but most successful – An Evening of Wine and Cheese in November 2011, which included wine and hors d’oeuvres, live music, art, a large silent auction and great company. We were extremely fortunate to have a very generous sponsor come on board with us – Focus Equities. They provided us with use of their sales office for the event, food/catering, wine, equipment rentals, flowers, and even numerous big ticket auction items! To help set the mood and brighten the space, we invited In-Definite Arts to display some of their art work. And local musician-extraordinaire Trina Nestibo answered our call to come and perform at our event along with Aldo Aguirre accompanying her on violin. They were fantastic musicians and really helped set the mood for the evening.

Our silent auction was a big success – within about one month we collected silent auction items donated from mostly local vendors and individuals for a total of 35 auctionable items – we raised over $3000 from the auction alone! Ticket sales to the event brought in nearly $2500. A very successful evening. But the biggest surprise was when Mr. Ken Mariash (developer and owner of Focus Equities) came in at the end of the evening and pledged to top up our fundraising thermometer to the half way mark! So, at the end of the night, our running playground fundraising total was at $18,000!

The Playground Committee has since done another Cookie Walk/Bake Sale at Fairview’s Skate with Santa (another $300), and have continued to collect bottle donations from Fairview residents (nearly $1000 to date!). Several kind residents have also provided personal donations for a total of nearly $400.

The Playground Committee’s commitments for 2012 fundraisers are a garage sale entry in conjunction with Fairview’s Parade of Garage Sales, our third Cookie Walk in Conjunction with Spring Fling, and the Annual Bottle Drive in conjunction with Hazardous Waste Round Up. We hope to continue the success of An Evening of Wine and Cheese by having a second annual event in the fall.

As of April 2012, we are applying to Parks Foundation Calgary for their Project Gift Administration program. This would give the playground fundraising charitable status and the ability to issue tax receipts (we currently fall under non-profit status with no ability to issue tax receipts).

We are always looking for enthusiastic individuals or businesses that would like to jump on board with us and help make our playgrounds fun and safe for our children for many years to come! Please contact Melody at 403-454-8327 or email at play@fairviewcommunity.ca