Back in early September, vandals struck one of the light poles at Key Pen Park’s Volunteer field and did more than $21,000 worth of damage.

Rather than repair the damage immediately, the park board decided to wait until it received word about a grant request submitted to the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) earlier this year.

On Oct. 9 the board learned that it had been awarded an RCO Youth Athletic Facilities grant of $250,000, according to Key Pen Parks Executive Director Scott Gallacher.

Funds will be used to install LED lights on fields 2 and 3, and repair the damage to field 1 –– plus switch to LED lights on that field.

“Instead of just fixing it, we’re also going to put in all-new LED lights that are cheaper and better for the environment,”Gallacher said.

RCO was looking for projects that would impact youth facilities. Key Pen Parks proposal was ranked eighth in the state out of 40-plus projects, Gallacher said.

“We had a very strong proposal and a well-written grant application. And the fact that we have great partners in the community ––the Little League, PenLight, the Key Peninsula Community Council and others ––goes a long way because the grants committee likes to see what kind of community support applicants have,”he said.

The $250,000 was the maximum Key Pen Parks could apply for and the maximum they could receive, he said.

The grant is a 50-50 match. “So it will basically be a $500,000 project,”he said.

The matching money will come from the parks’capital budget.

There’s also money from an insurance settlement, as well as “some help from PenLight,”he added.

Gallacher was quick to give credit to the people who helped write the grant.

“For us to write a grant for a quarter of a million dollars and be successful is a really great thing,”he said.

“We were up against organizations like Seattle and PenMet Parks and for our little organization out here on the Key Peninsula to get this grant –– well, our people just sort of hit it out of the ballpark,” he said.

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