Pinckney Library Gets Grant For New Pilot “SportPort” Program

The Pinckney Community Public Library is the recipient of a grant to support a pilot sports equipment sharing program in Southeast Michigan.

Project Play: Southeast Michigan supports the establishment and operation of a pilot program called “SportPort”. Pilot projects are being launched in 15 communities throughout the region including Livingston to launch programs that lend sports equipment to local children. The initiative is driven and funded by the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation in partnership with the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, the Aspen Institute Sports & Society Program and powered by the YMCA. $200,000 in funding was recently announced and the Pinckney Community Public Library is among the first five selected to serve as an inaugural equipment lending site for SportPort. It will receive around $15,000 this year and next to implement the program and will have different types of basketballs, baseballs, softballs, sports mitts, flag football and volleyball among others. The Pinckney Library is treating the equipment like a new material, so there will be a two week check out period allowed.

Director Hope Siasoco says there are a lot of open play and park areas in the community so they’ve been doing a lot of outreach to various partners that have areas where kids will be able to play with the checked out equipment such as Putnam Township, the Village of Pinckney, Pinckney Community Schools and People’s Church. Siasoco says Putnam Township is especially excited and has set up a volleyball/badminton net in the Towne Square Park but also purchased a separate kit for volleyball/badminton and donated it to the library to be added to the sports equipment lending program. She says that’s the type of partnership program officials are hoping to see and encourage to strengthen community partnerships. Siasoco says she hopes this is something the community will really embrace and use but judging from initial feedback from their partners, parents, and especially cub scouts – she thinks it will be a service they’ll really appreciate. She tells WHMI equipment will also get changed over at some point and be replaced with different seasonal equipment. At some point closer to winter, Siasoco anticipates they’ll have a changeover. Those taking part in the program also not need worry about damaging equipment as it will be replaced once it starts to show wear and tear. Siasoco says they want kids to use it and a company will replace the equipment free of charge so kids will always have new or like-new equipment to check out. Siasoco hopes it will be a valuable service to people in Pinckney and adjacent communities that don’t have it because the library is open to the public and they don’t have to be a resident to get a library card. She encourages those in neighboring communities such as Stockbridge and others to take advantage of the new SportPort, saying they are more than welcome to participate and the audience they’re targeting is age groups from 1 to 13.

This Saturday, a YMCA mobile equipment unit called “Y on the Fly” will be at the Pinckney library with Cub Scout Pack 395 from 10am to noon as part of a “Go Outside & Play Day” to mark the official launch of SportPort. The van will loaded with sports equipment, parachutes, nets, hula hoops, jump ropes, games, sidewalk chalk and other fun activities to encourage free play and sports sampling as well as healthy snacks ideas. More information is available by contacting the library at 734-878-3888 or visiting their website at www.pinckneylibrary.org. More information about Project Play can be found in the provided link. (JM)

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