“I was excited to try and help out,” Obanhein said. “They already do so many great programs,” she added of the Recreation Department, “and I thought it would be great if we won more money so we could do even greater things.”
McDermott said that once Greis Park cracked the comtest’s top 20 in June, the staff worked even harder to keep the votes coming in. By the July Fourth, the park was in fourth place. “The excitement became contagious,” Fitzer-Fuentes said.
In the contest’s waning days, Greis Park moved up to third place. “Everyone was really excited about it,” Obanhein said. “It was great to see everyone coming together.”
Mayor Bill Hendrick said the village is awaiting word from Coca-Cola on when to expect the grant money, but, he added, it shouldn’t be long. “It’s a great way to showcase our park that should be showcased,” said Hendrick, who thanked Coca-Cola, the residents who took part in the online vote and the Recreation Department staff. “I’m very proud of them,” he said of the staff.
It is yet to be decided how the grant money will be used, but Ciampi said it would be spent on something activity-driven so everyone could enjoy it.
Veterans Memorial Park in Moore, Okla., finished first, and received $100,000; second place, and $50,000, went to Mason Neck State Park in Lorton, Va.; and “wild card” winner Woodlawn Lake Park in San Antonio was awarded $15,000.
McDermott said he wasn’t surprised that the community voted as often as it did, because people have loved Greis Park for generations. “It’s a beautiful park,” he said.