Last fall, Jillian Ralston put the wheels in motion to develop a new park in Beaver Creek and is now starting to see her efforts come to fruition. The one thing she needs now is funds and has a lofty fundraising goal, which she hopes will come together with the help of the community.
Ralston, a mother and business owner, has lived in Beaver Creek for the past five years and has always wanted a park nearby for her young son.
When she saw the vacant lot of the former Nordstrom Park next to the Beaver Creek Fire Hall, she saw an opportunity and put the word out to garner support.
“I have driven past it every day and always wanted to do something with it,” Ralston said.
She created a Facebook page and thought she would get interest only from other Beaver Creek residents, but says she’s had a large positive response.
“People are jumping on the committee and everyone seems to want to help,” she said.
“I want to get the entire community on board and have it as a community park.”
In September, Ralston started working with the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District (ACRD).
She mapped out a plan and submitted a proposal to be able to start fundraising. She posted some makes and models of playground equipment on the Facebook page and had interested individuals decide on the best structure.
In December she was approved with the support of the Beaver Creek Advisory Commission and Beaver Creek Volunteer Fire Department and has the task of raising up to $50,000.
The funds raised will cover the cost of equipment, shipping, installation, gravel, borders and having the required certified inspector on site to oversee the work.
“At first $50,000 seemed daunting, but I looked at it with the perspective of 500 donations of $100,” she said.
“I think that is doable.”
Ralston has considered registering the group of volunteers as a nonprofit organization to be able to apply for grants, but since most grants for 2016 have been already issued, it would put a delay on plans. Ideally she hopes to have the grounds park-ready by September.
She is starting the year off by hosting a beer and burger event and hopes to have one fundraiser per month. The first one will be held at Boston Pizza on Thursday, Jan. 28 at 6 p.m. and includes a burger, fries and a beer.
There will also be a 50/50 and silent auction. Tickets are $20 and available at On Top Fashions on Gertrude Street.
Donations dropped off at the regional district office will be issued a tax receipt and an account has also been opened at the bottle depot.
For more information, search Nordstrom Park Planning and Construction on Facebook.