Passion for the parks

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From left: Ann Minnich, Don Seal, Brandon Bennett, Terri Sigman-Kennedy and Trish Crist at a recent Noblesville Parks Foundation board of directors meeting. (Photo by Robert Herrington)

From left: Ann Minnich, Don Seal, Brandon Bennett, Terri Sigman-Kennedy and Trish Crist at a recent Noblesville Parks Foundation board of directors meeting. (Photo by Robert Herrington)

Local parks and green spaces have a new support system – the Noblesville Parks Foundation.

“We’re getting together a team of people passionate about the parks and quality of life,” said Don Seal, foundation member and former parks director.

The foundation is a joint venture between the parks and its citizen supporters to serve as a fundraising auxiliary for the Noblesville Parks and Recreation Dept. and its programs. It also serves as a volunteer coordination resource for the department.

“We don’t do (build) parks, but we make parks better,” said Ann Minnich, foundation president.

The foundation also works to educate the public and promote the opportunities and benefits of the park and organize and provide volunteers.

“Parks are such a huge part of the community. People want to give back and help serve. I want my grandkids to grow up and play in the same parks I grew up in,” said Terri Sigman-Kennedy, foundation member.

The foundation has a nine-member board which includes a member of the park board and the parks director. It was formed in December and held its first meeting in February.

“We’re very, very new. The parks board talked about it for a number of years because our parks have grown,” Seal said.

Seal said the hardest part of creating the foundation has been coming up with seed money.

“It takes money to file legal papers, create brochures and get off the ground,” he said. “Foundation members so far have helped fund this thing. It takes a few dollars to get your name out – a few thousand to make it work.”

The foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit with the goal to support the Noblesville Parks Board, which creates policies for the parks department, by securing  donations, grants and other financial aid. One of the fundraising initiatives for the foundation is the park bench and tree dedication programs.

“We never had an outlet for donations,” said Seal. “Sometimes it’s hard for people to give money to the parks department because it’s government. We’re independent.”

“It allows us to potentially do more. I think the foundation will be good resource to help us reach goals which we’ve never had before,” Brandon Bennett, parks director, said. “It’s a tool and mechanism we haven’t had before.”

Coming soon

This summer, the Noblesville Parks Foundation will be writing columns about the various parks in the city. The first in this series will be in next week’s edition of Current in Noblesville.

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