PG&E representative Tom Guarino (center in orange), with local officials and community leaders, presents a check to Take Back Antioch Founder Brittney Gougeon for $12,500 to rebuild the playground equipment at Antioch’s City Park on Thursday, December 27, 2012.
Frazier donates final $2,000 to achieve $25,000 goal
By Allen Payton, Publisher
Antioch received Christmas gifts from PG&E and Assemblyman Jim Fraizer, today through donations to help rebuild City Park playground equipment, following the fire damage by arson, back in September. As of today, all the funds have been raised to pay the $25,000 deductible.
At a brief ceremony at the park, this morning, attended by community leaders, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) Company’s East Bay Senior Government Relations Representative Tom Guarino presented a check to Take Back Antioch Founder Brittney Gougeon and local officials, for $12,500. Then before the ceremony was over, PG&E Government Affairs representative Tom Guarino committed another $2,000 and Assemblyman Jim Frazier, committed the final $2,000 to reach the $25,000 goal.
Immediately upon hearing about the fire damage, Take Back Antioch took the lead in raising the needed funds, through a Facebook message, a fundraiser at Uno Chicago Grill and other efforts.
“This is huge for the community. There really have been so many families affected by this, and when PG&E contacted me about the donation, I was sincerely speechless,” Gougeon said. “I could not be more thankful for PG&E’s outpouring of support through a matching donation for our fundraiser to rebuild City Park.”
That’s the deductible amount the city has to pay before the insurance pool will meet the other $125,000 for the total $150,000 estimated replacement price.
Part of the play structure was burned on September 17. Two Antioch teens have been arrested for arson in the case.
“This senseless act of arson and vandalism does not help the community,” Frazier said.
In addition to Frazier and Gougeon, in attendance were Mayor Pro Tem Mary Rocha, Council members Gary Agopian, Monica Wilson and Tony Tiscareno, as well as Antioch Chamber CEO Dr. Sean Wright.
“A lot of leaders have stepped up when we needed them,” said Rocha. “This park has a lot of history with the stone walls built during WWII. The neighborhood…in the past couldn’t even come to the park.”
Six years after being constructed by a team of volunteers from PG&E and the Antioch community, a local playground was destroyed by arsonists. Today, PG&E announced that it will contribute a $12,500 matching grant to local community organization Take Back Antioch (TBA) to supplement its fundraising efforts to rebuild the park.
“This area of the park was built by the community,” Agopian stated. “Now, in spite of the arson and the violence done to this park, we’re going to do it, again.”
“We have excellent citizens in Antioch,” said Tiscareno. “This park is where I grew up at. Now to have my grandkids to come play here and to see the playground burned down is just heart breaking.”
“This shows great pride in our community,” Wilson shared. “Thanks to Brittany who didn’t wait to be asked to help. We are proud of living here.”
“It was more than just burning down of a playground. It was burning down of something the community built,” Wright said.
Along with many other community volunteers, Wright and his children helped paint the playground.
“This isn’t the only thing that PGE does for our community,” he added. Then listed a few other things PG&E has done for Antioch.
Guarino said “Because our Gateway Generating Station is in Antioch we’re going to throw in another $2,000.” That brought PG&E’s total contribution to $14,500.
“How much is left?” Agopian asked.
The answer was $2,000 and Assemblyman Frazier committed to make up the difference.
So now all the funds needed have been raised to cover the $25,000 deductible.
The total cost is $150,000 according to Community Development Director Ron Bernal. Now that the deductible has been raised the insurance company will provide the $125,000 balance, bids will be let, the contractor hired and the work can begin.
“Organizations like Taking Back Antioch are inspiring examples how neighbors can come together to make a real difference in their communities,” said Ezra Garrett, vice president, community relations, PG&E. “PG&E is proud to partner with Brittney Gougeon and Taking Back Antioch to help rebuild City Park and once again make it a safe place for families to gather and play.”
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation’s cleanest energy to 15 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit http://www.pge.com/about/newsroom/ and www.pgecurrents.com.