Pledge could boost park
AMHERST – Efforts to build a new park here got a big boost from an Amherst family pledging $25,000 if people donate another $25,000. The challenge comes from the Grunbeck family.
The park has a fundraising goal of $350,000, and is slated to feature a new playground, community garden and nature trail on the south side of Amherst Village on Courthouse Road.
The park is a project of the Amherst Land Trust and the Amherst Community Foundation, and they have received all town approvals.
Another resident, Becky Kendall, earlier gave a gift of $150,000 in memory of her son, Joshua.
"I’m thrilled to have this vote of confidence," said Sally Wilkins, chairwoman of the Amherst Land Trust.
Fundraising for the park is especially challenging, she said, because it coincides with fundraising for the Souhegan High School turf project and the Boys & Girls Club expansion project.
The offer from Jennifer and Bob Grunbeck "makes a huge difference," Wilkins said.
The park fundraising committee has already raised nearly $215,000, 61 percent of the needed funds, which does not include money expected from the Grunbeck pledge.
Along with a new playground, community garden and nature trail, plans call for the 3.9 acres of farmland and wetland to have a 10-space parking lot, fruit trees, a garden shed, benches and toilet facility. It also preserves the farmland now worked by Tom Mitchell. Sue and Scott Adams are selling the property for $45,000 less than the appraised value.
Amherst has lacked a public playground, meaning one that is open when schools are closed, since summer 2014, when the Cemetery Fields playground was dismantled.
Other details, and a color map, are on the park website, joshuas park.org.
Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100 or firstname.lastname@example.org.