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Thank You, Davis County Commission!

By Bryon Saxton of The Standard Examiner 5/22/12

Donations continue to roll in for a $1 million Syracuse park designed to provide unlimited play for special needs children.

The latest is $75,000 from the Davis County Commission. The contribution, approved by the commission Tuesday, will come from funds the county receives as part of its Community Development Block Grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Earth work on the park, known as Chloe's Sunshine Playground in Centennial Park, is slated to begin this fall, officials say.

The county providing CDBG funds toward developing the park is part of a "great partnership" between the county and Syracuse city, Davis County Commissioner Louenda Downs said.

The CDBG money the commission committed to the 5-acre park at 1979 S. 1900 West is in addition to the funds the county will generate for the project through its annual gala.

All proceeds from the annual black-tie affair, to be held Sept. 6 at the Davis Conference Center in Layton, will go toward developing the park.

County officials hope, based on previous galas, that the event will raise $35,000 to $40,000 for the park.
The county received $673,483 from the federal government to support community development and produce more affordable housing. The county has allocated those funds to nine organizations, with the Syracuse park receiving one of the larger contributions.

"This particular park is one of a kind," Davis County Commissioner Bret Millburn said of the project, which is drawing support community-wide.

Nearly $200,000 in grants and private donations have already been raised for the park, including a $75,000 donation from Zions Bank and a $5,000 contribution from Layton entrepreneur Haven J. Barlow, said Syracuse Mayor Jamie Nagle.

The park project may have to be done in phases, Nagle said, because of the development costs. The park is billed by officials as meeting the state's strict criteria for being its first unlimited play park, meaning it is accessible to all children including those with special needs.

"We're confident will we have the first phase (of the park) done by the first of next year," Nagle said.
"I think every partnership is critical, and the county has just supported us, knowing this is not only a draw for the city, but for the county."

Construction should begin in the fall, Nagle said, and will bring in many people from outside the area.
"It is such a positive thing. I feel like the momentum is there," she said.

The park is inspired by Syracuse mother Tara Bennett and her 5-year-old daughter, Chloe, who has special needs.

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