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Fifth-grader initiates fundraiser for park repairs

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By Rikki King
Herald Writer
EVERETT -- Fifth-grader Ashley Barquest walks past Garfield Park on her way home from Garfield Elementary School every day.
Ashley, her younger sister, Janelle, and their cousins often stop to play.
Two weeks ago, someone torched the slides at the park at 2300 Walnut St. Investigators estimated the damage at $10,000. Parts of the park were closed for days.
"I thought, 'How are they going to get all that money?' So I just had to step in and help," said Ashley, 11.
Ashley's grandmother Karen Barquest helped her plan a fundraiser. They attached fliers to more than 70 of Karen Barquest's canning jars.
Her father, Shawn Barquest, helped call businesses to see which would allow jars on site.
"You have to go through corporate everything," he said.
Last week, they opened a donation account, "Pennies For Garfield Park," with Wells Fargo.
Jars were posted in every classroom at Garfield Elementary, Alfy's restaurant in Marysville, Aramark Uniforms, the Frontier building on 41st Street and the McDonald's restaurant on Broadway in north Everett. More locations are planned.
On Friday, additional donation jars joined family photos in lining the cabinets at the Barquests' home, just down the road from the park. "SpongeBob SquarePants" played on the TV. Ashley sat at the dining room table and talked about her plans. Her grandmother tended to an infant in the next room over.
Local children and their parents were upset about the fire, Ashley said.
She hasn't set a goal for how much money she wants to raise. She keeps thinking about the $10,000 mark.
Her tentative plan is to raise "a big chunk of it," she said.
Ashley is leading the way, and her family is following, Karen Barquest said.
She described Ashley as a quiet, shy kid -- someone who speaks up when something is not right.
"That's all she's been talking about," Karen Barquest said. "That's just Ashley. She just keeps track of everything in her head."
City officials also expect to put aside money for the park equipment replacements, spokeswoman Kate Reardon said last week. Authorization will require City Council approval.
New equipment could take weeks or even months to arrive, Reardon said.
The arson investigation is ongoing, officials said Monday. No new details have been released.
For more information about the Barquests' fundraiser, call 425-252-7171.
Rikki King: 425-339-3449;
Story tags » EverettParks

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