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Athletic fields campaign seeks Island support

The committee raising funds for the Vashon Athletic Fields project recently kicked off an aggressive fundraising campaign that gives Islanders the opportunity to leave their mark at the new fields complex, literally.

So far, the committee has raised only $10,000 of the $300,000 in public donations needed to move forward on the $1.3 million project — a plan to build a sports complex with fields, bleachers, bathrooms and other amenities next to The Harbor School.

The committee hopes to raise the remaining funds by the end of the year, which will enable it to secure a $500,000 grant from the state and begin construction in the spring.

Allison Shirk, the project’s grant writer, said the committee is selling pavers, or one foot square concrete slabs, that will tile the Player’s Plaza in the middle of the complex. Donors who give $150 can have their name or chosen text engraved on a paver, and for $75 more they can engrave it with a logo or drawing.

Shirk already plans to purchase two pavers, which will be engraved with drawings by her two young children.

“I can imagine them growing into a young lady and a young man and seeing the tiles they made the first year they started soccer. … I hope other families will do the same thing, especially the younger ones who will get the full benefits when these fields are finished,” she said.

For more ambitions philanthropists, the committee is also offering the opportunity to name various parts of the complex. For example, naming rights to bleachers, dugouts and batting cages cost $10,000. Rights to the fields themselves run at $50,000 each, and if someone steps forward with $250,000 he or she will hold the naming rights to the entire park.

With less than three months left to meet an ambitious fundraising goal, Shirk feels the community will step up and support the much-needed fields project.

“I feel confident that we’re going to make it,” she said.

The project represents the park district’s most ambitious effort to date, as well as the first one that has entailed a broad-based community fundraising campaign.

Donations for the Vashon Athletic Fields can be made to the Vashon Park District. For more information on purchasing pavers, contact Allison Shirk at 734-6521.

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