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Jaycee Park gets massive funding boost

Placed first in nationwide contest

The Keeseville Youth Commision won $50,000 to develop Jaycee Park from the nationwide Pepsi Refresh contest, where the commision placed first. Mike Finnigan and John Casey accept the check from Pepsi representative Mike Armstrong Sept. 1.

The Keeseville Youth Commision won $50,000 to develop Jaycee Park from the nationwide Pepsi Refresh contest, where the commision placed first. Mike Finnigan and John Casey accept the check from Pepsi representative Mike Armstrong Sept. 1. Photo by John Grybos.

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Mike Finnigan of the Keeseville Youth Commission serves up grub to attendees at the Pepsi Refresh award ceremony, where $50,000 dollars was signed over to develop Jaycee Park.

— Jaycee Park will have funding for an extensive facelift after the local youth commission took first place in the nationwide, $50,000 Pepsi Refresh contest.

Mike Finnegan, a youth commission member, called the feat “simply amazing.”

This is the third time the Youth Commission has attempted to win, and this time they got a jump on the vote score by stockpiling caps for two months. One cap can yield as many as 100 points.

The first report of standings on the competition website found Keeseville in the top spot, said Finnigan. With that encouragement, they aimed to keep their cause in the top slot and finish first.

The park is planning to repair its soccer field and improve the baseball field. Final plans include a second soccer field, a total of three baseball fields and an upgraded playground.

“In order for a community to grow, it needs the support of those within,” Finnegan said.

The demand for community support isn't over, he added. A large portion of the grounds at the park now have been declared unsafe for play, and require rehabilitation.

Contributors right now include community members who've helped install fences and get the fields in playable condition and Fuller's Excavating, which will level and seed fields at the park.

Mike Armstrong works at the local Pepsi distribution center as the Production Availability Supervisor, and was at the park Sept. 1 to hand over the giant check. Usually the task of public events is left to his manager. The regular guy, however, has no power at home and has his hands full.

States where redemption laws are in place have better chances of winning, said Armstrong, because people take bottles to a few central locations to get back their nickels. These places are great for scavenging point caps.

Armstrong noted that Pepsi has given $20 million since the Refresh competition began in 2010. 

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