Girl collecting money for Garfield Park
EVERETT – Ashley Barquest, 11, thinks of her 3-year-old cousin and kids like him as people pitch in to her fundraiser, “Pennies for Garfield Park.”
Barquest and her cousins play at Garfield Park, the site of a recent arson.
“I feel bad for the little kids who don’t get to have as many memories as I got to,” she said.
Someone set the playground slide on fire in the early hours of Sunday, May 19. The city removed the burned plastic slide that week and ordered replacement equipment that should be installed next month, city spokeswoman Kate Reardon said.
So far, Barquest has raised $1,000 as of last week. In one night at the Riverside Neighborhood’s monthly meeting, donors gave about $250, including a $100 check from the neighborhood association.
Her collection jars are placed in at least a dozen businesses, however, someone stole the jar at the McDonald’s on Broadway.
The effort comes from Barquest’s nature to make things right, her grandmother Karen Barquest said last week.
Ashley is a quiet, shy girl “until something goes wrong and then she’s driven to fix it,” Karen Barquest said.
Ashley, who has a slight frame, stands up for kids being picked on at school, Karen Barquest said. She spent months searching for her dog Tiny — a St. Bernard — until he was found.
Karen Barquest’s home is headquarters for the fundraising effort. People can call to help by phoning Karen Barquest at 425-252-7171.
The family also set up a donation account at Wells Fargo Bank. To contribute, ask to donate to the “Pennies for Garfield Park” account.Each day, Ashley Barquest keeps detailed logbooks of the donations with a certain amount of excitement, Karen Barquest said.
The new equipment cost $55,000 and should arrive by Thursday, July 4, Reardon said.
“When she heard it cost $50,000, I thought she’d be discouraged,” Karen Barquest said. Instead it drove Ashley to work harder and put her jars in more businesses, she said.
“I’ve never seen so much passion come out of this girl,” her stepdad James Lamborn said. “The whole thing was her brainchild.”
The city is happy to take Ashley Barquest’s donation, Reardon said.
Police have no new information on the arson as of early this week, Everett Police Department spokesman officer Aaron Snell said.
On the night of the fire, police detained and questioned two juveniles but released them.
At last week’s Riverside Neighborhood meeting, people clapped for her effort.
“I think the city knows this park is well-loved by the neighborhood,” resident Katrina Lindahl said.
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