Safety Town raising money for summer camp, home school groups

December 17, 2018 GMT

HUNTINGTON — Safety Town, which has taught traffic safety to second-graders from Cabell and Wayne counties since 1974, is seeking to open for summer camp groups and home school students.

The City of Huntington Foundation is offering several sponsorship packages to make that goal a reality.

People may sponsor a day for home school students for $300 and a daily summer camp group for $3,000. Money is also being raised to purchase new security upgrades, new go-karts and a kart for children with disabilities. Sponsorship packages are being sought for naming rights to Safety Town buildings and to build a picnic shelter and park benches.

Some of the money will be used to continue improvements at Safety Town, such as new vinyl siding and new paint on some of the buildings, said Beau Evans, Region 2 coordinator for the West Virginia Governor’s Highway Safety Program.

“The purpose of many of the packages is to get new buildings and to renovate the existing ones that are there,” Evans said. “Structurally they are sound buildings, but we just got to get the outside cleaned up on some of them.”

Evans said people have the option to support a Summer Safety Camp in 2019, which will be open to elementary and middle school students.

“This will be open for children in Cabell, Wayne, Lawrence County, Ohio, and Boyd County, Kentucky,” he said. “It will be open for all counties in West Virginia and everybody in the surrounding states.”

Evans said another goal is to fund activities at Safety Town beyond its day-to-day running. Safety Town’s operation relies solely on private donations and contributions from Cabell and Wayne county schools. It costs approximately $20,000 to run Safety Town every year, including utilities and the salary of the program’s coordinator, he said.

“We have to rely on the community to help support it, and the community has done an excellent job supporting it thus far,” he said.

Earlier this year, Safety Town underwent a renovation including a new coat of paint, new carpet, new tiling and remodeled restrooms. They also put in new desks, new whiteboards and a flat-screen TV, among other improvements.

The city was also able to successfully raise $12,000 to purchase the program’s first handicap-accessible go-kart. The McElroy brothers, three popular podcast hosts, tweeted about the fundraising efforts to their more than 200,000 Twitter followers. The efforts also received donations from the Dutch Miller Auto Group and the Brady Steps Charitable Foundation.

“It was a very humbling feeling because I didn’t think we would find somebody who felt so passionate about Safety Town and what were trying to do,” Evans said.

Evans said the handicap-accessible go-kart will be purchased in the spring. To learn more about the available packages, email SafetyTown@CityofHuntington.com.

Packages include park benches, which cost $500 each and will be outfitted with a placard with the sponsor’s name and optional message. There is also a package to fund a picnic shelter costing $5,000 to $8,000 and picnic tables for about $250 each.

Other packages include naming rights to several Safety Town buildings, including the gas station for $3,500, the police station for $2,000, the fire station for $2,000 and two new buildings for $2,500.

Sp on s or s who don ate between $1,000 and $5,000 will receive a small placard on the memorial wall. Donations of more than $5,000 will receive a larger placard on the wall.

Travis Crum is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. He may be reached by phone at 304-526-2801.