Backers of a proposed tot lot on Evanston’s west side picked up a $25,000 check from Dominick’s employees Wednesday at the Evanston Plaza as they geared up for a fundraiser Sunday at Panino’s nearby.

Officials from Dominick’s owner Safeway Inc were on hand to present the donation to the Grandmother Park Initiative from the chain’s employee giving program.

Initiative co-founders Gay Riseborough and Mary Trujillo were on hand for the ceremony along with Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl, Alderman Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward, and State Rep. Robyn Gabel.

On Sunday from 4 to 10 p.m. Panino’s Pizza will hold a fundraiser for the park with one percent of their sales for dine-in or take-out customers going to benefit the park. There will be live music at 4 p.m. followed by a DJ after 5 p.m.

The initiative has partnered with Openlands, a nonprofit metropolitan conservation organization, which purchased the property, the site of a since-demolished burned out house, and is holding the space for the group as the group’s members continue to raise money to purchase and develop the lot into a park.

Grandmothers Riseborough and Trujillo were out walking in west Evanston on a sunny, summer morning in 2009 and talking about their four year-old grandsons and concluded that the neighborhood needed a new park where small children could play — which led to formation of the neighborhood group now working to develop the park.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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