Warrensburg – Another grant may push fundraising to build an inclusive playground at Cave Hollow Park over the top.

Parks Director Dodee Matthews cautioned there is reason for optimism, but not certainty, the second grant can be used together with the first.

Parks Board President Judy Vickery reported to the City Council that to receive the full amount of the first grant of up to $150,000 from the Department of Conservation, the community had to provide matching funds. Parks agreed to donate $20,000, and Johnson County Board of Services has raised $85,000 toward that goal, Vickery said Monday.

The Board of Services’ fund-raising amount comes to half the total of $170,000 pledged, Vickery said Monday.

Playground fundraising is in a good place because Matthews identified the original grant and her continuing work to find more grant money resulted in the award of the second grant, for $125,000, Vickery said.

The new grant comes from Gametime’s Show-Me Healthy Communities initiative, Vickery said.

Board of Services Director Scott Holmberg addressed the council after Vickery’s report.

“I can’t miss the opportunity to thank Warrensburg and the larger Johnson County community. … I’m going to get misty-eyed. You know, I never wanted my little sister to feel different, and she was, but, wow… A year ago, to be told this can’t happen, and for me to stand and say we’re going to make it happen, thank you,” he said, and turned to Matthews. “Oh, my gosh, thank you.”

After the meeting, Matthews said she cannot be certain the Gametime and Department of Conservation grants can be used together.

“We’ve hired a grant administrator who is going to help us work through all that process,” she said.

Certainty about how the grants might mesh should be established within the next month, Matthews said.

The Board of Services continues fundraising, with the Pennies for Play business support initiative being launched a few hours before the council meeting at a downtown business. At RISE Crafts and Curiosities, 109 N. Holden St., Holmberg’s granddaughter, Morgan Holmberg, 8, donated change to the cause.

“This is to help kids all around,” she said. “All kids can have fun playing together.”

Morgan Holmberg emptied a jar into the fundraising bucket at RISE, with the coins banging the bucket’s bottom. She explained where she located the money.

“We found it at my grandfather’s house. It was all around,” she said.

A group of board supporters, “the mom squad,” started the Pennies for Play drive, Scott Holmberg said.

“Folks are putting jars out and collecting change at home, and they’re going to drop off those pennies at various locations,” he said. “It’s a way we can continue to collect money.”

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