Knowing cuts were a foregone conclusion with the budget of School District #319, there was no way funds would be available to replace the old playground at the Keewatin School. So in 2005, Shelley Marty (PTSA chairperson) began to work with the Parent Teacher Student Association to find a way to make it happen. The projected goal was to raise about $50,000 to install a quality, student-friendly playground.
The fund raising road was long and sometimes very disappointing. Through fundraisers, collecting box tops, milk caps, and some personal donations, $13,500 was raised but wasn’t even close to the necessary goal. Then, Shelley met Megan Brown from Get Fit Itasca. Because of the fantastic job of fundraising, though short of the goal, Megan thought it was possible to apply for grant monies to help with the rest. The work of grant writing began.
Grants were received from the Blandin Foundation, Beefy Lawson, Nashwauk Endowment, NK Alumni, Minnesota Power, Lake Country Power, and a few others. A donation was also received from the Keewatin Senior Citizens and a wonderful surprise donation of $10,000 from Truck Writers, a family run trucking insurance company with several Iron Range employees, including owners Carrie and Mike O’Neil. The City of Keewatin gave in kind services by tearing down the old playground and getting the ground ready for the new one. The school district provided the ground covering through health and safety dollars.
The PTSA raised all the funds necessary to purchase the playground equipment, edging, and the cost of installation. Thanks to the many teachers, parents, families, and residents that gave of their resources, Shelley’s eight-year-old vision has become a reality - Keewatin School has a new playground!
The information in this article supplied by Shelley Marty.