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Ballston Spa benefit boosts playground fund

The Friends and Neighbors of Ballston Spa group is almost halfway to reaching its $180,000 fundraising goal to build an all-inclusive playground at Kelley Park.

To date, the Friends and Neighbors of Ballston Spa, or FANS, has raised more than $85,000.

On Saturday, March 29, people at the Malta Avenue Intermediate School were hopping with folk music by Daniel Berggren, who performed a benefit concert to raise money for the playground.

I believe in doing music for a good cause, Berggren said.

He said when he heard about the playground effort, he offered to hold a benefit concert.

Berggren performs folk music of the Adirondacks at coffeehouses, libraries and museums across the state, and at festivals nationwide.

"This project is all about talents," said Shannon Hansen, who organized the fundraiser.

Hansen said the community has pulled together to work on the project.

"Everyone is pitching in," she explained.

From sailors to builders, several people have already volunteered to help construct the playground, which will provide equipment suitable for children 2 to 12 years old.

More than 250 uniformed sailors will march to Kelley Park Saturday, May 24, and help the volunteers put together the playground equipment.

In honor of the sailors' efforts, the park will feature a submarine tube where children can play.

Volunteer construction on the park is set to begin Friday, May 23, and end Saturday, June 1.

Several fundraisers are scheduled before construction begins, including an adult silent auction and refreshment sales during intermission of the high school play Friday, April 4, and Saturday, April 5.

Hansen said after several large contributions to the park fund, the group is looking for a grassroots push to raise the rest of the money needed.

She said they are hoping to raise the remaining $95,000 through community donations, by sponsoring children's handprints for the playground, as well as pickets for the fence surrounding the playground.

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