The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, December 26, 2018 1:00 am

Decatur halfway to park's fund goal

$500,000 raised, often in offbeat ways


The city of Decatur has raised just over $500,000 through community donations for the Hanna Nuttman Park project, reaching half of its $1 million goal.

In May, a Capital Campaign was opened to the Decatur community, with the goal of raising $1 million out of the project's total $2.3 million.

Instead of traditional donations, Melissa Norby, director of community development, said the community has contributed in unique ways.

“It's been interesting to see how the community has said, 'I'm not just going to give. I want to figure out a different and creative way to make my donation fun and give back to the community,'” Norby said.

This month, two Decatur residents created opportunities for the public to help.

Mind's Eye Graphics Inc., a contract apparel decorator, created an online shop with Hanna Nuttman Park products, such as a T-shirt and fleece sweatshirt.

The store donated $10 for every garment purchased, raising $430 for the project.

“We're going out to those people who are currently playing ball or those people who have fond memories of playing ball in the past, for another million dollars,” Greg Kitson, founder and president of Mind's Eye, said. “That's quite a Capital Campaign for a community of 9,500 people. We're asking people to dig deep and support this project.”

The online store will be open through Jan. 13, 2019, and will reopen in the spring once baseball season begins.

Karla Barger, a lifelong Decatur resident, took her quilting hobby to the next level and donated 23 handmade quilts to the city, with sales going to the project.

The quilts have been made in the last three years, and Barger has been waiting for a wedding, birthday or cause she cares deeply about to give them to.

The quilts were on display in City Hall for the month of December. Six were sold, which amounted to $1800.

“Donating these quilts to this project was a perfect way for me to support this community,” Barger said. “I have two grandsons, and I hope to watch them play in the new park someday.”

Barger said the remaining quilts will be on display again along with some new ones in the future.

The park project will revamp the baseball and softball diamonds into a complex featuring improved fields, centralized concession stands and restrooms, and more accessible and safer parking.

The city hopes to start construction by fall 2019.

“We have a saying with our capital campaign. 'It takes teamwork to build a community,'” Norby said. “We truly believe that. We're not going to be able to get to that million dollars without the support of our community.”

Donations can be made at

The Mind's Eye Graphics Inc. Hanna Nuttman Park merchandise can be purchased online through Jan. 13 here

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