Take Back Antioch founder Brittney Gougeon was pleased, but nothing could match her excitement when she discovered the organization had brought in $5,274 to help rebuild City Park. “Once you start something, you have to finish it,” Gougeon said. “If you don’t do it, no one else will.”
An estimated $1,400 poured in from a raffle held at the restaurant Sept. 27 and 28. A portion of sales over that two-day period will also be donated to rebuilding a portion of the park that burned on Sept. 17.
Almost immediately after the fire, Gougeon and the organization’s eight core members sprung into action. After securing the restaurant as a fundraising partner, the group obtained donated raffle items from more than 13 local businesses and created several of its own gift baskets for the raffle.
As people strolled in to contribute to the cause last Saturday and Sunday, many of them expressed their sentiments for the once beautiful park. “I really like that park,” said Dominic Knight. “It has something for everyone.”
Participants taking aim on the fundraiser’s 56 raffle items were excited – and so was Gougeon. As she glanced over the table of prizes Saturday, she recounted the generosity of the community. “When I went into Salon Vitor, they handed me a stack of gift cards,” she said. “The stylists donated $650 worth of services.”
On Saturday, Adriana Munoz of Rudolph and Sons Constructions chatted with her at the restaurant, bought some raffle tickets, went home and donated $2,000 into the online account dedicated to the park’s rebuild. “It’s been an amazing week,” Gougeon said Monday.
Later in the weekend, Sheila White, owner of the Red Caboose Restaurant and core member of TBA, announced she would donate all proceeds from the purchase of spaghetti dinner plates at the restaurant until Oct. 6. “I’ve lived here most of my life,” White said. “I don’t want to see what is happening with this city. It’s the right thing to do.”
Antioch resident Beverley Knight came to the event energized after it was announced Sept. 28 that two teenagers were arrested in connection with the fire. For Knight, the arrests and damage to City Park carry special meaning. She has adopted the park, and cleans it up every morning.
“I’d like to take care of them instead of seeing them sent to jail,” Knight said of the 14- and 17-year-olds arrested after Gougeon received a tip and passed it on to the police. “I’d like to have them pick up trash and have them speak at high schools.”
The estimated cost to rebuild the park is $80,000, which is covered by insurance, but the city is responsible for paying a $25,000 deductible.
TBA is still accepting donations online at the TBA website.
Another fundraiser is also planned for Oct. 25, 26 and 27. A haunted house will be on display from 5 to 10 p.m. at 2101 W. 10th St. The cost is $5, and all proceeds go to the park’s rebuild. For more information, call Josh Sauberman at 925-335-6076 or visit www.antiochhauntedhouse.com.