Pokagon celebrates new playground

Published 10:11 pm Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Alainna Preston

Alainna Preston

Pokagon Township’s new $54,000 playground outside the hall on Peavine Street is the end product of a conversation with state Rep. Matt Lori.

Lori, R-Constantine, facilitated a $15,000 grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, which gained momentum with the addition of partners, including $18,000 from Game Time and $20,000 from The Pokagon Fund, which derives its resources from gaming, including the Four Winds Dowagiac casino on M-51 South in the township that is also home to tribal headquarters at Rodgers Lake.

“It was initiated by Matt and grew to where we are at right now,” which may be the launching pad for something greater, Supervisor Linda Preston said Wednesday evening.

“We’ve got another grant application in to the DNR (Department of Natural Resources) trust fund (which Dowagiac and Silver Creek Township tapped for Russom Park) to possibly do a walking track around the perimeter of the property, a 20-foot by 40-foot pavilion and some extension of our parking lot so we can handle all the cars that might come.”

Preston said, “We are greatly appreciative to Blue Cross Blue Shield, and to Matt Lori for helping with that, to The Pokagon Fund and to Game Time.”

“We might be able to put a gazebo in, too, where parents can have a place to sit down for parents to watch their children,” Trustee Gary Mihills added.

“It’s good for the community to have a place for family reunions and picnics,” Trustee Robert Shaffer said.

Clerk Carrie Sandberg said, “I’m grateful, having kids of my own and living in this township all my life, it’s really nice to have something community- and family-oriented.”

Lori said, “I just sent another one in for Three Rivers, which wants to do a trail from the hospital. This is the first one I’ve done. It just came from a casual conversation with a Blue Cross lobbyist.”

“Boy Scouts want to build some benches for an Eagle project,” Preston said, “and build some benches for either along the path or the playground area. It’s one of those projects that once you get started, it kind of gets its own momentum rolling. We’re just excited about it and would like to see good things happen in Pokagon Township to keep young families here by providing a nice area for them to play in.”

Everyone sang happy birthday to Treasurer Kevin Young.