Future Looks Bright for Sidney Center Playground
Thanks to $10K Donation

From left, SCIG members Loddie Marsh, treasurer Marie Sellitti and President Michael Sellitti receive checks totaling $10,000 from Sidney United Way Preside Lorrie Roach and Sidney Alumni Association President Doug Sheldon. Also pictured: incoming United Way President David VanValkenburg.

SIDNEY - Community groups came together when the Sidney Alumni Association and Sidney United Way presented the Sidney Center Improvement Group with $10,000 last Saturday.

The money, some generated through SAA fundraising efforts and some grant-funded, will benefit Phase I and II of much-needed improvements at the Sidney Center Playground, SCIG president Michael Sellitti said. The park has been largely inoperable and inaccessible since suffering storm- and flood-related damage.

"This will definitely help us move forward with restoring what's there and installing new features," Sellitti said, noting that new features will include stone benches, play ground equipment, a community pavilion and walking trails. The group also plans to earmark funding for repairs to existing swings and a basketball court, he said.

Such a significant monetary contribution, Sellitti said, helps SCIG meet its mission.

"Our focus is on providing free community events, beautification and improvement and water quality," Sellitti said. "We've been working toward this for 10 years and the park is something the community expressed wanting to see improved. We're fortunate to have really good partnerships with the Sidney Alumni Association and United Way."

Sellitti said he expects work on Phase I and II to take place primarily through 2019, with Phase III , which includes construction and installation of a footbridge, slated for 2020.

SCIG , Sellitti noted, includes roughly 20 members.

Sidney Alumni Association President Doug Sheldon said, beyond prompting nostalgia among many of the group's roughly 1,000 members, the playground project reinforces SAA's focus.

"Part of our mission is service to the alumni, school and community," he said. "So we have an abiding interest in things that are good for the community."

"The Sidney Center Improvement Group came to us and asked if there was any way we could help, so we reached out to the alumni," Sheldon added, noting that the process began in April.

After mailers and the SAA's "Reflections" newsletter reached an estimated 3,000, Sheldon said, the response was hearty and immediate.

"Essentially in a threemonth period, the alumni caught the message and helped out," he said. "There's a strong attachment to this area."

The association offered a matching $2,500 to funds raised by the alumni, Sheldon said, for the SAA's total $5,000 contribution. However, so strong was members' response, he added, that the group has a remaining $7,500, which it plans to apply to Phase III .

Like Sheldon, Sidney United Way President Lorrie Roach said, the SCIG's playground revival was an easy cause to back.

"We're the Sidney United Way, but we support three communities-Masonville, Sidney and Sidney Center," she said. "And one of our focus areas is youth, so what better way to do that than provide for a facility that was destroyed and is now coming back to life? It's a delightful result."

For more information on the Sidney Alumni Association or to donate to the project, visit sidneyalumni.org.

To learn more about SCIG , find "Sidney Center Improvement Group, Inc." on Facebook or visit scigny.org.

Reprint from The Tri-Town News