The Friends of Williamston Parks work to rebuild the city, one playground at a time

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A deteriorating Williamston park has become the new project for the volunteer community group known as the Friends of Williamston Parks (FOWP).

On the group’s website, they explain what they call the “broken” park.

“This green-space was once filled with various play structures and other equipment. During the last 20 years, pieces have been removed as they have broken and been deemed unsafe.”

Williamston did not have enough funding to rebuild the park back then, thus resulting in its breakdown.

“The Friends of Williamston Parks thought it was important to rebuild this playground and return it to a gathering place for families and caregivers,” said Heather Galecka, FOWP member.

On its website,, there is more information about the significance behind this new project. Not only is the park said to be a gathering place for Williamston residents, its significance also comes from the fact that it is the only playground south of the intersection of Putnam Street and Grand River Avenue.

There is an abundance of people that travel through this area to get to the park that is north of Grand River. Furthermore, this park will provide a safer option for people living on the south side of town.

Earl Wolf, a leader in the city’s Parks and Rec commission, called it the Playground Project. FOWP has been working on, Wolf said, the Playground Project since March 2017. The cost of the project is estimated at $74,000. This approximation is based on the amount of mulch, benches, swings and other items that the park will have.

FOWP holds numerous fundraisers and events to help raise money for the project.

“In addition to grant applications and a mailing campaign, local businesses have held special events for us,” said Galecka. “For example, Groovy Donuts donated money for every donut sold on a specific day.”

Not only did Groovy Donuts decide to support the project, but also the Old Nation Brewing Company and Sunnyside Cafe.

FOWP hosts regular euchre tournaments for the funding as well. FOWP has raised close to $25,000 thus far, according to Galecka.

“The Friends of the Williamston Parks is very active in pursuing funding opportunities for our parks,” city treasurer Rachel Piner said.

Although FOWP is “very active” in their fundraising efforts they accept donations online as well. Their website helps to show what a donor would be potentially buying.

FOWP believes that Williamston parks are vital to the community. For more information or to donate to the project, visit

“Williamston is a close-knit community,” Galecka said. “When there is work to be done, people pitch in and get it done.”


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