Fresno’s Playland opened its gates 60 years ago and entertained over 250,000 visitors in its debut year of 1955. Seven years later, Storyland welcomed children into a storybook wonderland full of “Three Little Pigs”, a castle, queens, cottages, a pirate ship and more. For generations, Storyland has inspired a love of learning and make-believe. Through a partnership with the City of Fresno, the parks provided all of its profits right back into the community – helping create even more local assets and opportunities.
Unfortunately, over the years, circumstances have changed. Because Storyland/Playland had so generously given to the community, but kept little to make its own necessary repairs and improvements, the parks recently had to close its gates. And for the first time in 60 years, there was a real fear the parks would never reopen.
Now, with a brand new steering board, a renewed commitment by the City and overwhelming outpouring of community support, we’re taking big strides towards re-opening the parks for good. Most importantly, we’re taking steps to ensure the future sustainability of Storyland/Playland for generations to come. But we need your help to restore this community treasure, and bring back those smiles to the next generation of children’s faces as they fall in love with storybooks brought to life.
Historically, the value Storyland/Playland has provided to the community numbers in the millions of dollars. Now, to reopen, we are calling in all favors. After consulting with industry experts, we have set a budget of $850,000 to address much needed maintenance and repairs, and we are actively soliciting trade groups and organizations for $500,000 of in-kind donations to help with certain immediate needs. A few of these needs include: a new irrigation system, landscaping for more shade, new restrooms, ride and exhibit repairs, new rides and exhibits and wider walkways to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. While the list is long, we’re up for the challenge, and here’s how we’ll get there, together.
Through the guidance of the new board, Storyland/Playland has received a $200,000 matching gift donation that carries with it a challenge for the community to raise an additional $200,000 to help reopen the parks. This matching fund-drive marks the second major effort to save Storyland/Playland. The first being a donation from The Valley Yellow Pages, that recently donated the cover of its newest edition to encourage recipients to give by including a preaddressed return envelope to the parks. Since then, Storyland/Playland has received nearly $40,000 in donations from individual community members and families
Messaging will announce the $200,000 matching gift as an opportunity and challenge the community to raise the additional $200,000 needed for Storyland/Playland to receive the full $400,000.
As part of a $200,000 matching gift, the Storyland/Playland board launched a community-wide fund-drive on May 13, 2015 to help match the $200,000 donation. This money, coupled with the additional dollars raised to-date, will ensure the board has over half of the $850,000 needed to not only bring Storyland/Playland back to life, but create a sustainable future for the parks that the community can be proud of.
The following partners have already signed-on to help reach our fundraising goals: KSEE 24; CBS 47; FOX 26; Univision 21; iHeart Radio; Univision Radio and The Fresno Bee. And to keep the lines of communication open with the community, the Storyland/Playland Facebook page will serve as a resource for updates and announcements.
The outpouring of support and love for Storyland/Playland is undeniable. As donations come in, the personal stories that drive them are equally as valuable. It truly is one of Fresno’s most treasured parks that still holds so much promise for the future. We ask that you consider joining us in our efforts to continue turning the pages in what could be one of the Central Valley’s finest Cinderella stories.
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