Lewisboro Playground Improvement Project to host two events this weekend to raise funds for new park


What do a car show and Oktoberfest have in common? They are two of the latest creative events the team behind the Lewisboro Playground Improvement Project have cooked up to raise money for a new, inclusive playground at the Lewisboro Town Park. This Saturday, the group will host a car show in the morning followed by a family-friendly Oktoberfest event in the afternoon in one final push to reach their $100 thousand dollar fundraising goal by October 16.

“We have been very fortunate with our fundraising thus far,” said Josephine Berisha, director of outreach/volunteers for the Lewisboro Playground Improvement Project. “We can’t do it without the community and we’re just hoping for the community to keep supporting us.”

The first annual “Cars in the Park” event is scheduled for Saturday, October 16 from 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. at the Lewisboro Town Park. The show is open to all makes and models. Participating cars will be charged a $20 registration fee. A $10 donation is suggested for spectators; kids under 12 are free.

Later that day and in the same location, the group will host an Oktoberfest event. Area food and beverage providers, including Idyllwild Bread, Hardscrabble Cider, Captain Lawrence Brewing Company, will keep attendees fed and watered. Tickets, which include BBQ provided by the Lewisboro Lion’s Club, drinks, harvest games and music, are $30 for adults and $15 for children age 3-14.

The group has raised $90 thousand dollars so far through a series of family-friendly events held at the Lewisboro Town Park. This summer, the group hosted a series of “Evening in the Park” events featuring food trucks, live music, and activities for kids. Local businesses and individual donors have been invited to sponsor specific equipment to be included in the new park, such as an outdoor musical instrument set or a wheelchair-accessible “we-go-round.”

The total cost for the new park, which is designed to be an inclusive space for children of all ages and abilities, is expected to be about $630 thousand dollars, according to Berisha. Local government leaders, including New York state assemblyman Chris Burdick, have offered to help secure grants to cover additional costs if the group met their aggressive fundraising goal.

“It caught my attention when they made it a priority that the project would be handicapped accessible to children."

Burdick said the project is of particular interest to him because he’s a member of the New York State committee on people with disabilities. “It caught my attention when they made it a priority that the project would be handicapped accessible to children,” Burdick said, adding, “renderings showed some of the ways in which the equipment was designed so that it could be used at the same time for children with and without handicaps.”

Burdick said that he’s been working closely with the Playground Improvement Project group to secure funding, though he declined to provide specific progress or dollar amounts. “We’re close on what we think we can put together. We will have an announcement on Friday,” he said.

Berisha said that other local leaders, including Tony Gonçalves, Lewisboro Deputy Town Supervisor, and Dana Mayclim, Superintendent of Parks and Recreation, have been proactive in trying to help the group meet its goals. “Without all of us, it wouldn’t happen,” Berisha said.

Berisha said the group has been inspired by how much the fundraising events have done to help bring the community together over the past year. “It doesn’t matter what background, what politics, families are just out enjoying our park. I can’t wait to have a beautiful new park that can accommodate everyone. My goal is to have this be a place where everyone can get together.”

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