(KNSI) – Three area lions clubs have hit their fundraising goal for improvements to make the Sartell Lions Community Park more inclusive.

The LeSauk Township Area, Sartell and St. Stephen chapters combined last year to begin raising approximately $340,000 to add equipment and a rubber surface at the playground, which is wheelchair and handicap accessible. The park was originally opened in 2004 but Sartell club president Stu Giffin says it remains a priority.

“We continue to work on the park. It’s kind of our signature focus, so we plant gardens, install benches, maintain the railing, eradicate buckthorn.”

$100,000 came through a grant from the Lions International Foundation itself, which supports causes throughout the world. It took a year to receive approval, says Giffin.

“That was approved on the district level in February of 2022 and it was to be reviewed at the international level in January of 2023.”

Almost a quarter million dollars came through GoFundMe and online sources, local events, and partnerships with nonprofits. Giffin says the Lions clubs brought on a former area Boy Scouts of America executive to help organize the effort.

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