Peru crowdfunds to pay for ice rink, basketball court


During a time when funding can be hard to come by, a North Country town is trying a new way to pay for amenities.

Some parents struggle to find somewhere for their children to hang out in Peru, NY.

“We’d try to have playdates but where are you going to go? Take them to the indoor McDonald’s?” asked Honora Frechette, a mother of three.

Plans are in the works to build a convertible basketball court and ice rink at an existing park.

“For kids that haven’t experienced ice skating, because my son’s so into football, he’s never done it,” said Frechette. “So who knows if he’d like hockey?”

“All people can use it, great for all ages, it’s easily accessible for any disability,” explained Pam Barber, confidential secretary to the board for the town of Peru.

Barber is leading the town’s charge to turn an approximately 55’ wide by 105’ long plot at Sullivan Park into a recreation destination.

To pay for it, she applied for a grant through the Clinton County Health Department. The town did not receive the grant but the Health Department recommended Barber try a different method: crowdfunding.

“It’s a lot like GoFundMe but anything that’s raised gets matched,” Barber said.

It’s called IOBY, or “In Our Backyards,” through the New York State Health Foundation.

Every donation is matched up to $10,000 total.

Barber thinks it will cost about $19,000 to get the basketball court/ice rink up and running, including basic infrastructure costs and plans for a warming hut and benches.

“With the  budget as it is, you’ve got the tax cap, you know, the price of everything is always rising,” she said. “It’s trying to get all of the town members, all of the residents to kind of all get together and basically have more skin in the game. And to bring the town together to fundraise to do something good for your town.”

The park will act as an extension of the Heyworth/Mason Walking trail, to get people out of the house and into the fresh air.

The town hopes to have the ice rink open this winter.

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