By Chris Paul
Over the past couple of years, Londonderry resident Katie Keeley has been spending a lot of her spare time raising funds for an addition to the Funway Park play area at the LAFA (Londonderry Athletic Field Association) on Nelson Road for children with autism.
Keeley is a mother twin boys’ who are autistic and were not able to play on much of the equipment in the park, so she began her venture to add a sensory area to the existing park.
The ultimate goal for her fundraising is $25,000 and last week, donations reached $20,000 after she received $5,000 from the Londonderry Police Association. The check was presented to Keeley last Wednesday, March 23, in front of police headquarters.
The funds were raised by the Police Association during a golf tournament that was held this past August. The goal was to raise money for a service dog for a little boy in town and for the sensory addition to the playground.
During Keeley’s efforts, she has been helped by Recreation Director, Art Psaledas and Occupational Therapist, Jenelle Psaledas, who have helped with a number of things along the way.
Jenelle has been instrumental in choosing the best equipment for the play area and Art helped with the installing of the swing recently put in.
A merry-go-round has been ordered and will be installed when it arrives.
According to Keeley, “We purchased the swing and merry-go-round and we are hoping to complete the sensory addition by adding drums and chimes this summer if we reach our goal.”
The Funway Park was originally installed through fundraising efforts by the Londonderry Mom’s Club, but recently the park is looking a bit run down.
Keeley is hoping her efforts will help reinvigorate the communities interest in the park.
During the March 8 election, voters passed a Warrant Article allowing the Town of Londonderry to establish a Recreation Fund, now all funds received can be held there for a variety of project, one of which being the Sensory Park. If residents wish to contribute, they can send checks right to the Town Hall, at 268B Mammoth Road Londonderry NH 03053 c/o Justin Campo or they can donate via paypal on the project’s website: www.playground-addition.com.
The Londonderry Lions Club is also helping Keeley reach her goal, next month they will be presenting her with a check for $1,800 during a “Pint Night” fundraiser, being held at the Pipe Dream Brewery on April 29.