Looking at a photo of a playground on the east side of the old Pershing Elementary School, Ron Lamott remembered playing there as a kid. 

“There’s the monkey bars and the teeter-totter,” he said. Recalling childhood mischief while denying his personal involvement, he smiled and added, “The teeter-totter always ended up on the flagpole at Halloween.”

At a launch party this Saturday, Lamott and other East Germantown Town Council members will show their plans for a new playground at the same location. They hope anyone interested will come visit from 1-3 p.m. in town hall on South Milton Street.

The town is raising $50,000 — or more — to help pay for the new playground.

At a Jan. 25 gathering with three council members and the town clerk-treasurer in town hall, Sheila Mills’s eyes lit up as pledges started coming in on the day the campaign began.

“There’s our first donation!” she exclaimed at 9:07 a.m. as a $27.26 gift showed up online. About a half-hour later, she announced a $1,000 gift.

Donations of any amount are being accepted online at https://wwn.to/egplayground. People who wish to make donations by cash or check may send them to Town of East Germantown, P.O. Box 248, Pershing IN 47370, or drop them off at the city building, 206 S. Milton St., where there is a drop box on the building’s south side.

At the launch party, “We will have refreshments and speakers and there will be renderings of what the playground will look like,” Mills said. Because the party is a day after Groundhog Day, the event is being called “Out From the Shadows.” Invitations sent to all Pershing-area residents have a picture of a groundhog poking its head out of a playground.

Mills, who signs her email as Playground Champion, wrote the grant proposal that led to the launch party. If people donate $50,000 by 11 p.m. March 25, the project will receive another $50,000 from the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority’s CreatINg Places Program. If the goal is not met, the town will get no money from that program.

Funds from this crowdfunding campaign will be used to resurface the existing basketball court, surface more space for a playground and add new play equipment.

“My dream for this park is to have a place for all kids to play,” said Don Fisher, a council member. The park will be equipped to serve children with disabilities, too. “There are very few places where special needs children can play.”

The park will be on 0.165 acre next to the former school building at 519 Pearl St. Equipment and construction will cost about $118,000. Work could start late this spring, said Steve Mills, who is Sheila Mills’s husband and the town council president.

Clerk-treasurer Carleene Collins said the town wants to be more attractive for younger families. Already, she said, residents are seeing some younger people moving to town. The town is planning to rehab sidewalks and install lights along U.S. Highway 40 so residents will have a safer place to walk. The playground will be a place for their children to go and perhaps meet other local children.

Fisher noted that the town has two names. East Germantown is the original name and is retained by the town government. Pershing is the name assigned by the U.S. Postal Service and is the name of the old school.

Help build a new playground

The Town of East Germantown is raising $50,000 to build a children’s park through an online crowdfunding campaign. Donations must be received by 11 p.m. March 25. You can donate online or bring cash or checks to the Town of East Germantown, 206 S. Milton St., Pershing, or send them by mail to P.O. Box 248, Pershing IN 47370.

A Launch Party for the fund drive will be at town hall from 1-3 p.m. Saturday. The public is invited.

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A version of this article appeared in the January 31 2024 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Bob Hansen is a reporter for the Western Wayne News.