By Joshua Maloni
Two large gifts to the new playground project were announced prior to Monday’s Village of Lewiston Board of Trustees work session.
“We have a couple of people here tonight that are generously going to donate to our all-inclusive playground at Marilyn Toohey Park,” Mayor Anne Welch said.
First up, she welcomed Mike Carroll and his girlfriend, Brittney Page, to the dais. Carroll’s 11th annual “Halloween Bash” netted $6,450. The event was held Oct. 26 at the Brickyard Brewing Company. It included music from DJ Mike Irish, costume contests and raffles.
“He does this every year for different charities. This year, he picked the playground. I really appreciate that, as we all do,” Welch said. “It’s going to be a beautiful playground. People like you, we’re so appreciative that you stepped up to do something like this for us.”
Carroll said, “I couldn’t have done it without all the business owners in the village.”
“Everyone’s just been so supportive,” he added. “It’s my 11th year I’ve done it. Hopefully, we can continue it. Nothing but good reviews so far from it.”
A record 427 people attended the “Halloween Bash.”
“I was there – it was a great party,” Welch said. “I love to see everybody all dressed up.”
“The costumes were great,” Carroll said.
“I didn’t stay out there late, though,” Welch said, laughing. “I can’t keep up with you young kids!”
“She closed the place down!” Carroll said, as the crowd laughed.
Carroll was formerly in law enforcement and said he often looks to raise money for local police departments.
Recreation Director Brendan McDermott informed Carroll of the village’s efforts to raise nearly three-quarters of a million dollars to build a playground that would enable children with disabilities or restrictions to participate and have fun with other youth.
“He brought it to my attention probably in August,” Carroll said. “What sold me was it’s going to be beneficial to kids with special needs. My girlfriend’s niece, she’s full autistic, so I know she’ll take advantage of that – as many other kids with special needs will, too.”
Welch said, “It's a great playground for everyone – all the children.”
Mayor Anne Welch, center, is shown with members of the Krell family: Amanda Krell, Dustin and Aubrey Kruse, and Catherine and Karl Krell.
Next, the family of the late Patty Krell presented a check in the amount of $6,751.98, raised by family and friends through a GoFundMe fundraising campaign.
Welch was choked up as she said of her friend, “One thing that she wanted to do was to donate to our park. I’ve known Patty for a long time. She’s a very generous woman.”
Krell’s granddaughter, Aubrey Kruse, explained, “Before she got diagnosed with cancer, she was actually affiliated with the Moose (Lodge). They were sponsoring a drive to raise money for the playground. She got sick and, unfortunately, couldn't participate. But it’s all she talked about. I heard it every day. She passed away a couple weeks later.
“My grandfather (former Trustee Ernie Krell) was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. We wanted to accept donations for Alzheimer’s, instead of flowers, when she passed away. And we thought about it, and this was something that was near and dear to her heart.
“We have two very special girls in our family who have special needs: one is autistic and one has some physical special needs and challenges. And our family from Lewiston, this is an opportunity where, when they come home to visit, they will be able to play with everybody else. So, that was very important to us.”
Kruse said the Krell family was “really surprised” at “how many people did come together – especially in the community – to help such a special cause.
“We’re very happy to do this – and we know she’s smiling down – we can’t wait till this is done.”
“Thank you, very much,” Deputy Mayor Vic Eydt said.
His fellow trustees echoed that sentiment.
“In the summer, hopefully, we’ll have a brand-new playground for everyone,” Welch said.
The playground is expected to cost around $700,000. To date, the village has collected more than half of that amount.