Plewis Automotive Group has stepped up with a $100,000 contribution to secure naming rights for the soon to be completed Community Inclusive Playground Park in Swift Current.
A Report for Information was shared at the February 6 Swift Current City Council meeting to announce the 15-year naming rights agreement which will be in place through to May 2038.
“It’s something that I’ve been pushing for as a councillor for a number of years, and I was very happy to see it becoming a reality,” Plewis said of the Community Inclusive Playground Park.
“It’s something that I think the community needs, and something that I think that we’ve been lacking,” he said during an interview following last Monday’s City Council meeting. “I have three small, getting older all the time, but still relatively young children who I take to the parks, and I take to the library, and I take to all the facilities that we’re able to enjoy. And when I’m thinking about it from the perspective of a dad, getting to see my kids being on a park, building relationships, learning all the skills that kids learn through play – it breaks my heart to think that there might be kids who would miss out on that same experience just for the reason that maybe they’ve got an ability that’s different than that of my kids.”
“It’s something that I personally feel strongly about, and I know it’s something that the other folks that are involved in our Auto Group – members of my family, and managers and staff – feel strongly about. And something when I went back to them as a group, it was a very easy sell for everybody in the business.”
“It’s something that I feel really great about as a dad, as a City Councillor, and as a business owner.”
Plewis was one of the attendees at a park consultation meeting back in June 2022 where there was not funding in place to provide a requested piece of equipment which was brought up by families in attendance.
“At that time we were trying to figure out if there was additional grant funding or if there were additional dollars out there we could find. And when the Plewis Automotive Group came forward and said ‘what would it take to make that piece happen?’ we were able to do that,” recalled Nicole Spenst, Event and Program Manager for the City of Swift Current.
Spenst added that when she was able to share that positive news with some of the participants at that meeting, their faces lit up with excitement from that good news.
“So families and those children that haven’t got to participate in some of our parks and programs, or to the full extent, are now going to be able to get the opportunity to play like everyone else in our community. No matter what their age, this park is truly designed for play for all.”
The park took a big step towards becoming a reality when back in May 2022 the City was successful in accessing $750,000 through the Canada Community Revitalization Fund, a two-year $500 million national infrastructure program from the federal government.
Plewis has been the biggest advocate for the project around the council table for a number of years.
Councillor Tom Christiansen said that passion for the project was evident from his first meeting as a Councillor back in November 2020.
“I can recall the very first meeting that we had as this council, and it’s been a passion for this playground in Ryan’s mind,” Christiansen shared. “He was very adamant. And he’s brought it up a number of times over the years, but never really got a lot of traction. So it’s very satisfying to see this coming to fruition. And I think it’s only right that Ryan (Plewis) can take a little bit of credit in that because it definitely has been his passion.”
Plewis added that the sponsorship ties into their business philosophy.
“Our slogan is ‘Better Together’. And that’s not just a slogan to us, it’s part of our business model.”
“When we ask people to support local, we also expect them to want us to support local. And this is just a way that we can do that as a family and as business owners. To me it’s just the right thing to do.”
“We’re in a position as a business where we’re able to do these sorts of things in the community, and these are kinds of things we like to be involved in the community that everybody can enjoy and take part in.”
“So for us this was not really a plan so much as something to be involved in, but something that we felt moved to be involved with. And we’re just fortunate to be in a position where we can help make a couple of these things a reality that might not otherwise have been able to come to fruition.”
Spenst also shared that the Community Inclusive Playground Park will incorporate a series of design features to enhance the enjoyment of the park.
“It’s not just about the playground. It’s about the experience from the parking lot to the playground to the shade areas to the washrooms. We’re going to have the very first adult change table in Swift Current, and we believe one of the only ones in Southwest Saskatchewan.”
“This is really going to open the doors for that experience. And just being able to go outdoors and experience the fresh, clean air, in a safe environment. That’s really what this park is all about, it’s encompassing play as a whole, for everyone. No matter what your social, mental, physical, cognitive abilities are, this park is truly designed for that. And we are very thankful for the sponsorships, for our grant funding that we’ve received, to be able to help develop this park in that way.”