FRESNO, Calif. - Big things are happening at Roeding Park. After months of fundraising, Rotary Storyland has officially opened its doors.
Once upon a time.
"It's really an emotional experience," Vice-Chairman Bruce Batti said.
There was a park created with one purpose: to tell stories. But over time, this park, deteriorated.
"There weren't a lot of people here. It wasn't in good shape," Batti said.
But then, a group of people came to the rescue..
"We thank the community so much for getting behind this project, for letting us know they love Storyland," Batti said.
Batti says their efforts started back in March. The group used Valley Yellow Pages to get the message out. Over time, envelopes with donations found their way back to the parks.
"Some of them with big checks, some of them with notes, handwritten in crayon with $2 in it, saying please open Storyland, we love it," Chairman Scott Miller said.
Even 10 year old Jaida Jacobie pitched in, using her birthday as her own fundraiser.
"No presents, take all of the money that you would give me for my presents, and we're going to raise $500 as a group," Jacobie said.
Jaida was only able to raise 480 dollars with just her presents, so she took the last twenty out of her own savings.
"I just knew I had to save it because. They gave me the experience I wanted so I wanted to give that back to them," Jacobie said.
Now thanks to the love from Jaida and everyone else who chipped in, Storyland is in full swing.
The first day already a hit with merry-go-rounds, storytellers, and even the train, all back on track. It's a place parents remember when they were kids, and now want to share with their own.
"It's something in Fresno we don't have, something you can't find everywhere, so growing up here, it's just a memory," visitor Allison Gregg said.
About $500,000 have been raised so far. About $100,000 has gone to opening Storyland and the train. Board members say Playland will be open by next April.