Does Anyone Successfully Complete these Daunting Forms?

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) is offering grants for projects using recycled tires, including playground surfaces.  My mother and I learned about this program about 2 weeks ago from Patrick Brown,  a local landscape architect who has been involved in many local design projects, including several playgrounds and parks.  We hope to secure this IDEM grant for the surface of our playground for preschool children with special needs.

The IDEM grant application is a 9-page form with 20 sections including a section titled “Legitimate Beneficial Reuse Information” and another titled “Tire Derived Product (TDP) Information and Certification”.  We need to come up with an “Estimated Percentage of overall project containing Tire Derived Product” and a “Projected Number of Tires Utilized for the Project”.  Needless to say, the application is daunting and requires a lot of information we do not readily have at our disposal in time for the May 30th deadline.  We are going to give it our best shot, however. 

We are meeting tomorrow morning with Darden’s school principal, Jim Bankowski and the South Bend Community School Corporation’s Buildings and Grounds Supervisor, Mike Szymanski, regarding possible sites for the playground.  Hopefully from this meeting, we will have an idea of the amount of real estate we can hope to use for the playground and any help Mr. Bankowski or Mr. Szymanski can give in completing the application.


One section I can respond to tonight is titled: Media Exposure and Information Plan.  Below is what I intend to submit in response to this requirement on the IDEM grant application:


Media Exposure and Information Plan

Publicity for this playground project has already begun.  

1)      Two blog-sites dealing with local issues including environmental awareness and sustainability:




 have articles posted about a “sustainable playground for preschoolers with special needs”.  These articles link South Bend Mayor Steve Luecke’s recent commitment to the “Cool Cities” pact to reduce our city’s carbon footprint and foster sustainability by using recycled materials and reducing our reliance on fossil fuels.

2)      Mikki Dobski, Mayor Steve Luecke’s Director of Communications and Special Projects, was notified of this playground project and its tie-in to the Mayor’s commitment to sustainability via an email and a link to the blog-site https://ifweonlyconnect.wordpress.com/     Ms. Dobski was informed that we are seeking funding via a grant from IDEM for a recycled tire playground surface.  Ms Dobski thanked me for the information and responded that she would like to stay appraised of any developments. 


3)      An email was also sent to Christine Fiordalis, president of the local Sierra Club and who was instrumental in getting Mayor Luecke to sign the “Cool Cities” pact.  


Future Plans for Media Exposure:

1)      Continue  blog-site postings on above-noted blogs keeping readers up-to-date on developments as well as requesting leads for further funding for this project.

2)      Continued contact with South Bend Mayor Steve Luecke’s office regarding developments and invite him to the playground’s ribbon-cutting ceremony.

3)      Write a Michiana Point of View op-ed piece for the local South Bend Tribune informing the public of the importance of this project, its use of sustainable materials and requesting assistance from local organizations and vendors for funding, equipment and volunteer time.

4)      Include information about this project on Indiana University at South Bend’s Center for Sustainable Future website.

5)      Submit press releases to local media outlets, including WVPE, the local public radio station, which is currently promoting sustainability issues, to be present at the playground’s ribbon-cutting ceremony.

6)      Write an article about the playground including its importance for preschoolers and sustainability aspects for the Special Edition, the South Bend Community School Corporation’s newsletter on subjects related to the education of students with special needs.