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Yamaguchi Park project receives 1A funds

A new Pagosa Springs playground is closer to fruition after a $15,000 allocation from the 1A Parks and Recreation Fund approved by the Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners May 18.

The playground, to be located in Yamaguchi Park, is the result of a push by a group of citizens spearheaded by Dawn Robel.

The playground will serve children up to age 12, will be handicap and toddler accessible and will be the first ADA-compliant playground in town.

The group asked the PROST task force for $17,683, however, a swingset slated for the playground was removed in light of space and liability concerns and the deletion decreased the cost.

Also saving money on the project was a switch from a rubber mulch to a wood chip base covering the ground throughout the playground. The mulch cost about $12,000, while the wood chips will cost about $3,000.

In the proposed plan, the playground will occupy a 3,280 square-foot, elliptical-shaped area in Yamaguchi Park. Upon completion, maintenance will be taken over by the town.

For safety and accessibility, the ground throughout the playground area will be covered with the wood chips, as well as with areas of rubber tiles that make wheelchair and other access easier, Robel said.

Robel’s proposed plan for the playground includes:

• A climbing wall that reaches from the ground to one of the structure’s seven-foot decks to accommodate children ages 5-12.

• A baby rock crawler, which is a climbing wall with handles and a less-severe slope.

• Four slides, including a double slide, which Robel noted is good for children to race on. The other slides are a wavy slide and a spiral tube slide.

•?A toy fire department truck.

• A large wooden xylophone that could cater to up to six children at one time and would be located under a structure.

• A spinning tea cup.

•?A race car spring rider, as well as a teeter spring rider (which lessens the impact when one child gets off as compared to a traditional teeter-totter).

While much of the equipment will be accessible, a specific area of the main structure is slated to be even more so. The area will have a surrounding base of the rubber tiles leading from the sidewalk and will include steps of a lessened grade that lead to a slide that will lead back to the rubber tiles at its base.

In presenting PROST’s recommendation to fund the $15,000, county Special Projects Manager Karin Kohake said the group had raised over $10,000 in monetary and in-kind donations.

“We’re really excited to get this project off the ground and see kids playing on it, hopefully in July of this year,” Robel said.

In other playground funding, the BoCC allocated $9,662 from the 1A Parks and Recreation small grants fund for the elementary school playground.

The funding will help the school, specifically principal Kate Lister, remove and replace broken playground equipment at the elementary school playground.

With a total project cost of about $26,000, Kohake said about $7,000 of cash and in-kind donations had been received for the project.

The playground currently serves over 500 kindergarten through fourth grade students.

At the same meeting, another 1A funding request was turned down not by the BoCC, but by the organization requesting the funds.

Morgan Murri, representing GECKO (Giving Every Child Knowledge of the Outdoors), had requested almost $20,000 from PROST and the BoCC to purchase timing equipment to help with area bike and running races that raise money for the organization’s scholarship funds.

PROST recommended that the BoCC allocate $8,000, the cap amount for the small grants fund.

Stepping before the BoCC to answer a question concerning the ownership of the equipment should GECKO choose to relocate, Murri requested that the commissioners indefinitely table the request.

Murri said it was an “all or nothing proposal” and that he didn’t want to take money from the scholarship funds to purchase the equipment this year.

Murri continued, telling the commissioners that he wanted to take more time to look for additional funding.

The next regular BoCC meeting is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on June 3.

randi@pagosasun.com