Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — An attempt to bring a second national achievement to Newfane enters the final weekend needing a big push.
The effort to get Krull Park honored in a Coca-Cola internet contest as “America’s Favorite Park” will require a Herculean effort, as the park is in second place, trailing the leader by more than 4 million votes.
As daunting as that may seem, the numbers in the contest have swelled dramatically in the past week. Krull Park as recently as Independence Day was the overall leader with 9 million votes. As of Thursday, Krull had received 20,711,655 votes.
Still, that trails the 24,951,092 votes secured for Pratt Park in Prattville, Ala., a suburb of Montgomery.
Gina Guido-Redden, a Wilson resident who grew up in Newfane, is spearheading the effort to win the contest, and a $100,000 grant from the cola company that goes along with it.
Guido-Redden helped Olcott Beach win the World Fishing Network’s Ultimate Fishing Town title just a few weeks ago, by forming an “Olcott Beach, New York” social network team to help solicit votes. She’s using many of the same people again for this contest.
Newfane Supervisor Timothy Horanburg recruited Guido-Redden for the fishing contest, and turned to her again after he learned about the Coca-Cola opportunity. Unfortunately, the contest was already about 10 days old when he was alerted to it by a resident.
People can vote for Krull Park by visiting Coca-Cola’s “Live Positively” website. Each vote from a personal computer registers one point. However, a feature involving the Four-square computer application allows a voter to generate 100 points per vote. People are eligible to vote every 20 minutes, up to 28 times per day.
“I immediately tested the software involved, evaluated the rules, developed a strategy, and re-assembled the OBNY social networking team,” Guido-Redden said. “We moved from 320th place to 11th in just a few days and then into fourth, and into second. We then spent several days in and out of 1st place.”
However, the people of Prattvillle have pushed back.
“Pratt’s city government has invested a great deal of their resources into their bid, including use of city employees and city property for events,” Guido-Redden said.
They haven’t stopped. An article in the Montgomery Advertiser reports that the Prattville city council and its mayor are hosting a “Vote for Pratt Park” party on Sunday. The two hour party is described as a “continuous flash mob voting” event.
Guido-Redden hopes that there are enough people in the region who will come to the aid of Krull Park and add their votes.
According to the Live Positively website, the recreation grants will be used to restore, rebuild or enhance places within the park where people can play or be active.
Part of the money would be used to install wheelchair swings at Krull Park.
A golden opportunity seemed to have presented itself with the “Ultimate Reunion” for all Newfane High School grads this weekend. However, there will be no event to boost Krull Park similar to the one Sunday in Alabama.
“The organizers of (the reunion) actually pro-actively wrote to us and asked us specifically not to attempt to organize or utilize that gathering to solicit voters or participants,” Guido-Redden said. “They felt it would detract from their event.”
Residents can visit the computer lab at Newfane Town Hall, 2737 Main St. to register their votes. The lab is open today from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
There is always someone at the lab to assist visitors. The lab was also utilized for the fishing town contest.
Guido-Redden believes that if her group hadn’t gotten a late start on the contest, Krull Park would be well in the lead.
“We were in the process of planning the events of the UFT award ceremony and the filming by the WFN crew, in the same week that we began to compete in this contest,” she said. “Had we known a week prior to the onset of the contest, it would have allowed us an opportunity to bring our efforts to the people in a more effective manner.”
Still, she’s not giving up, and she points to the park’s proximity to water, its abundant sports fields, pavilions, playgrounds, splash pad, band stand and more among the reasons Krull Park should be “America’s Favorite Park.”
“I can tell you that this park is a way of life for those that live near it,” Guido-Redden said. “We recognize that every community loves and cares for their local parks, but I’m not sure that there is another park that is as much like everyone’s back yard as is Krull Park.”
The runner-up for the contest receives $50,000, and third place receives $25,000.
Voting continues through midnight Sunday.
Contact Guido-Redden at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how to optimize votes for Krull Park.