MALONE — A fundraiser on GoFundMe, a crowdsourcing website, has raised $1,600 to benefit the Malone Recreation Foundation, and to go towards the purchase of security cameras at the Malone Village Memorial Park.
According to Merrill McKee, who organized the online fundraiser, the idea behind the effort was to assist the Malone Recreation Foundation, a non-profit organization, in helping to cover the cost of the security cameras, a need recognized after recent vandalism at the park.
McKee said his hope was to get donations to help with the security camera costs, so funds within the park’s budget can remain devoted towards recreational opportunities for the community.
The goal of the crowdfunding campaign was $1,500 and the fundraiser netted, $1,600 according to McKee.
“We not only met are goal, we were able to raise more than we set out to,” McKee said.
McKee said the intent of the security cameras was to deter vandalism at the rec park and to keep the area safe, following a recent incident of vandalism where the basketball and tennis courts were damaged.
“We want to keep the park safe and keep this from happening again,” McKee said.
According to the fundraiser’s, GoFundMe page, the campaign started on Monday, April 19, and 43 people have donated to it.
Village Trustees discussed the vandalism, at a board meeting, Monday, April 12.
According to an email from Mayor Andrea Dumas, the Rec Park Commission reached out to the company that put the courts in, and the cost to repaint them with one coat of paint is $8,100.
At the meeting Dumas expressed frustration with the vandalism and that money meant to go towards promoting recreational activities at the park would now have to be devoted to repairs and the installation of security cameras.
According to Dumas, $90,000 to $100,000 was donated to bring the courts to the rec park, with large contributions coming from Dr. Gerry Cahill and Jerry Jones, who died Thursday, April 22.
At a Malone Town Board meeting, Wednesday evening, Councilman Jody Johnston spoke about the park and Jones’ contributions to the community.
“I want to circle back and talk about the impact the two had on the park,” Johnston said, “Those two gentlemen, I want to say, are almost solely responsible for those tennis courts. We saved some money and put some money away, but they really drove this to the finish line.”
Johnston talked about the vandalism in mid-April and a tribute of flowers left at the park after Jones’ death last week.
“It was a little different driving by and seeing the sign that was vandalized and then soon after that, there was a little display for Jerry, in remembrance of Jerry,” Johnston said, “It kind of brought it back to where this all started from with Jerry and Gerry doing those courts, I think it is important to once again, posthumously, thank Jerry Jones for what he did and for what Dr. Cahill will continue to do.”
Johnston said he appreciated the efforts to raise money for security cameras at the park.
“I think that will play a huge part in trying to stop what it is these, children I hope, because sometimes there is an excuse for a child to do something like that but there really isn’t much excuse for an adult to do that, but I don’t want to say anything about excusing that type of action,” Johnston said.
Johnston said hopefully the security cameras will serve as a deterrent to future acts of vandalism.
“Hopefully these cameras will be a little bit of a deterrent, if nothing else, we can use it as a law enforcement tool to hold some people accountable,” Johnston said, “It is my hope that from this point forward they will hopefully be able to find out who did it this time and try to prevent it in the future.”
Johnston said Jones was an active supporter of the rec park.
“I was part of the Malone youth baseball program for a while. We didn’t have to look for Jerry, he would look for us and say if anybody wants to come down and buy balls and equipment, I’ll give it to you at cost, I’ll do this, I’ll do that, I’ll donate to your tournaments,” Johnston said, “It’s a huge void not only for athletics but like we said earlier, a guy who has been a pillar of the community for a long time.”
Town Supervisor Andrea Stewart agreed, and said Jones was someone who never looked for the limelight.
“I think we will miss him but I think what he had done as a foundation to giving back to the community, will continue on,” Johnston said.