Fraser recreation district receives grant for playground | SkyHiNews.com

Fraser recreation district receives grant for playground

Hank Shell
hshell@skyhidailynews.com

Great Outdoors Colorado has awarded the Fraser Valley Recreation District $97,835 for a new ADA-compliant playground at the Fraser Valley Sports Complex.

The new playground will replace the existing one located at the complex.

"The fact that our existing playground was installed in '96 when the facility was built is beginning to show," said Scott Ledin, director of parks, recreation and golf.

"It is not ADA accessible because of the surfacing mat that's on the existing playground. It's in need of a bit of repair and it's really served its useful life."

During its community needs assessment earlier this year, the district found "broad interest and support" for a new playground at the complex.

The new playground's design comprises of 5,905 square-feet of play area with an educational component that focuses on the history of the Fraser Valley.

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The concept is divided into two phases, Ledin said.

"We decided to break it into phases so that we could make some progress, and it also made our grant more attractive," he said.

Among the themed components planned for phase one of the playground are a stagecoach, old west storefronts, teepees, a dream catcher, a canoe and interpretive signage.

The components are meant to evoke the history of the stagecoach route that once ran through the Fraser Valley as well as the rich history of the Ute tribe that historically inhabited Grand County.

Phase two of the project will include a train component and will require a separate fundraiser at a later date, Ledin said.

"I'm excited about the concept behind it and being able to tell a story and educate," Ledin said. "We get so many visitors out there at the park. I'm excited to see how the kids enjoy it and the creative imaginative play that it creates."

In addition to community members and visitors, the National Sports Center for the Disabled will use the playground for youth programming.

For GOCO, the project falls within the bounds of its "Protect, Connect, Inspire" strategic plan, which "focuses on land preservation, trails and encouraging more youth to get outdoors," according to a press release.

GOCO distributes proceeds from the Colorado Lottery to improve parks, trails and open spaces around the state.

The project is also in line with Governor John Hickenlooper's "Colorado Beautiful" initiative that seeks to fill "critical gaps in connectivity for trails and open spaces," according to GOCO.

Materials for phase one should arrive in early September with some preliminary site work completed prior to that, Ledin said. The district plants to host a community build weekend sometime in September where volunteers can help construct the playground.

Completion of the project is slated for the first week of October.

If successful, Ledin said the concept of an education playground could be exported to other communities in Grand County.

"I'd like to see it continued in other parks across the county," Ledin said, "where everyone has their own story to tell their and own community heritage."

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