Nebraska City News-Press - Nebraska City, NE
  • Percival kids inspire community

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  • What started out as an endearing gesture from a group of children has now blossomed into a $20,000 community-wide revitalization project for a town of about 87 people.
    Children went door-to-door collecting money in a can because they wanted a park built in their hometown of Percival, Ia. They collected $44.63.
    Their efforts have paid off.
    On Saturday at 7:45 a.m., work will begin on the erection of a new playground structure at Percival Park, located on the north side of the old school building.
    The playground is the first of many restorative projects that will be taking place in Percival over the next five years.
    Percival Hometown Pride Committee Chairwoman Angie Sheldon was shocked by the youth's desire to restore the community.
    "We chose this as our first project since some children in Percival took it upon themselves to collect monetary donations following the flood in hope of having a playground at the park," Sheldon said. "This enduring gesture by the youth indicated to us their strong desire to have a park that they can take pride in and enjoy with their friends, family and community members.
    “We are pleased to be able to provide that for them in a safe environment."
    In June 2011, a levy broke near Percival along the Missouri River that flooded the town. Three years later, the community has united to begin beautifying their town that was under water. The 1-year-old Percival Hometown Pride Committee is a part of the Fremont County Hometown Pride Pilot Project, a Keep Iowa Beautiful program. The committee is a community task force who's goals are to promote community beautification, revitalization and growth.
    According to the website www.keepiowabeautiful.com/hometownpride.com, the Hometown Pride program was created to help Iowa communities survive and grow by providing them with long-term technical and professional coaching assistance. Fremont and Pocahontas are the only counties in the state currently participating in the program. The Percival Hometown Pride Committee meets monthly with a community coach and works with the Benton Township Trustees, a governing body of Percival and the surrounding area.
    "We've got a great committee," Sheldon said.
    The playground totaled about $20,000. Sheldon said $10,000 stemmed from the Fremont County Community Foundation. Additional funding came from the Benton Township Trustees, a Pancake Feed in April hosted by Percival youth at the Percival Volunteer Fire Department and a community-wide garage sale.
    "We really appreciate the help and support we have received from members, friends and the youth of the community," Sheldon added.
    Many homeowners and farmers suffered many losses because of the June 2011 flood. In fact, Percival Hometown Pride Committee member Phillip Peters lost his home because of it. Peters is anxious to see the new addition of a playground and to see his community bounce back even stronger.
    Page 2 of 2 - "It's just been a long and hard-fought struggle," he said. "We've dealt with enough adversity."
    Once the playground is built, the Percival Hometown Pride Committee's next project is to repaint the volunteer fire department. Sheldon said that through the Paint Iowa Beautiful grant, Diamond Vogel Paint Co. donated 12 gallons of paint for that project. Sheldon and Peters hope that project will be completed before the town's Community Picnic on Aug. 17.
    The next project will be planting trees in Percival this fall. Through a Keep America Beautiful/United Parcel Service grant, $5,000 was obtained to plant the trees. The committee also received a $1,500 Trees Forever grant to plant trees in the park.
    "Because of the flooding, we lost a lot of our trees," Peters said. "Basically we want to beautify the town so that it looks nice."
    Through a Yo-Ho Tools grant $200 was used to purchase landscaping tools for the upkeep of the park.
    Sheldon added that since there aren't sidewalks for people and children to safely walk or bike in town, the committee would also like to create a walking path in the park.
    "We're going to continue to improve the area," Peters said. "We want to draw in more families and businesses."
    Anyone can volunteer to help with the installation of the playground equipment on Saturday. Peters said having 20 to 25 volunteers would be ideal.
    "We'll take all of the help that we can get," he said.
    People wanting to donate money for the beautification and revitalization of Percival can send it to: Percival Hometown Pride Committee, ℅ Benton Township Trustees, 2030 210th St., Percival, Iowa 51648. Please make checks payable to Percival Hometown Pride Committee.
    For more information about the committee's goals and projects, search for Percival Hometown Pride on Facebook.
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