Mercer Island City Councilmember Craig Reynolds praised the volunteerism that the Mercer Island Preschool Association (MIPA) has put forth since its inception in 1937.
Over the last year, the nonprofit organization has made an immense impact in helping steer aspects of the Mercerdale Park playground renovation project. MIPA initially stepped up with a $20,000 donation and then led a community fundraising effort that amassed an additional $34,200 toward the “Train Park” project.
That act of generosity and community support is one of the many reasons why Mayor Benson Wong spotlighted the all-volunteer parent-teacher association at council’s Nov. 16 meeting and proclaimed that day as Mercer Island Preschool Association Day in the City of Mercer Island.
Along with focusing its efforts on the Mercerdale playground, which will be ADA-accessible and welcoming to people of all ages, MIPA has partnered with Mercer Island Youth and Family Services (YFS) by donating $8,000 to $15,000 annually to fully fund the YFS emergency assistance preschool scholarship program, and has raised nearly $100,000 over the years for park improvements and other capital improvement projects, according to Wong.
“Volunteerism takes many forms. Sometimes it’s with money, sometimes it’s with labor and sometimes it’s just with an idea. In particular, we saw that in the Mercerdale Park playground: The value of an idea that might not have happened had the inspiration not come from the folks at MIPA. I think there are a lot of people in this community who appreciate it,” Reynolds said.
MIPA’s Laura Schaps, who was present at the virtual meeting, thanked the council for its partnership and for building a relationship with the organization.
“It’s been wonderful having such a supportive council to work with,” she added.
Councilmember David Rosenbaum, who has two small children, said he and community members are excited to have an inclusive play space on the Island thanks to MIPA’s efforts.
Like Rosenbaum, councilmember Salim Nice is pleased that MIPA brought issues of inclusivity to the forefront that will deeply impact children and others who will frequent the park.
“I’m so appreciative of being able to work with MIPA and look forward to whatever it is that you bring for the next thing that we touch, because it always adds tremendous value,” Nice said.
At the meeting, City Manager Jessi Bon said the city is presently doing site work on the playground, but there has been a supply chain delay in the arrival of the equipment due to the powder coating on the structure. In late summer, delivery of the equipment was delayed because of a fire at the manufacturer’s factory.
Bon said the opening will likely be delayed until early in the new year. “We’re going to be super excited to cut that ribbon, finally,” she added.