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Dream Park committee, VBS join to raise money

The children participating at the joint vacation Bible School this week thought it was anything but silly when members of the Dream Park fundraising committee issued its penny challenge – whoever raises the most money gets to silly-string the grown ups.

On Friday, the grand total was revealed – $100, and since only $1.70 separated the girls from the boys, everyone got a chance to douse committee members Lisa Patterson and Kristy White.

Held at the First Presbyterian Church, the VBS was jointly sponsored by FPC, First United Methodist Church and St. Mary’s Episcopal Church.

While the donation may seem small to some, it’s a perfect illustration of “every little bit helps” when completing the project, Patterson said.

The renovation project is the Andalusia’s civic project for Homecoming 2010. It’s estimated cost is $100,000, and plans are to include a 1,200 square-foot addition. But what makes this project so unique is the plan to showcase a handicapped-accessible swing that can hold up to four wheelchairs or eight able-bodied children.

Beyond that, visitors will find a ground-level mirror maze full of activities. A rock wall will expand the play area for older students while every nook and cranny of the park will have Tic–Tac–Toe, musical instruments, pin ball or other activities.

The build is scheduled for Oct. 20-24.

“We’re about a third of the way there as far as fundraising goes,” Patterson said. “All but nine of our components have been sold, and fundraising is coming along nicely, but we’re still a ways away.

To raise money, handprints and fence pickets are being sold. Once completed, they will be installed at the park. Handprints are for $25 each, and pickets are $50 each.

“The Dream Park is a wonderful facility and this addition is going to make it even better,” she said.

But in addition to funds, volunteers are also “desperately” needed, she said.

“It’s going to take at least 80 volunteers per day to get the project finished,” she said. “I know this community, and I know it’s going to happen. We just need a little help – both in volunteers and in financial contributions – to get us there.”

To sign up as a volunteer, send an e-mail to dreamparkandalusia@gmail.com or by the Website dreamparkandalusia.org.

The goal is to have 135 volunteers by July 17, Patterson said.

One must be 18 or older to volunteer, and the Junior Service League has volunteered to head up childcare during the renovation. Civic groups are encouraged to rally their members to volunteer, as are local businesses, she said.

“We’d love to see employers let their people give a four hour shift on the project,” Patterson said.

For more information or to make a donation, call Lisa Patterson at 334-881-2293.

Trenton Watson lets his silly string loose on Dream Park committee members Lisa Patterson and Kristy White. | Stephanie Nelson/Star-News