North Routt school seeking GOCo funds

Group wants to upgrade playground

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— Though children everywhere may say it's impossible, future recesses could actually be more fun than they already are.

Well, at least for the children in the Clark area.

The North Routt Community Charter School and members of the surrounding community hope to build a new playground at the school with Great Outdoors Colorado grant money.

The North Routt Community Playground Committee has prepared a grant application that will be submitted for approval by GOCo before the March 3 application deadline.

GOCo is scheduled to award the grants June 27.

If the school is awarded a grant, the project is scheduled for July, committee chairman Brian Watterson said.

New equipment is needed because enrollment at the charter school, which opened in 2001, continues to grow, and the school's existing playground equipment doesn't meet the needs of the school's 21 students, Watterson said.

"The kids have a limited recess," he said. "It's pretty obvious the equipment's just not adequate enough for the number of kids we have."

The playground would serve the community, not just the school, Watterson said.

"We're looking to make the school not just a school, but a local community center. The playground will be part of that," Watterson said.

"(The playground) will be open year-round, not just during the school year."

The playground equipment would include a four-swing swing set, climbing structure, drawbridge, corkscrew slide, chinning bars, rings and monkey bars.

The modular nature of the equipment provides room for future expansion.

The playground's existing pea gravel base would be expanded and will meet safety regulations, Watterson said.

The playground committee is seeking $11,000 in GOCo funds, which it will supplement with about $5,000 in matching funds. The cost of the proposed playground is estimated at $16,089.

Many community members have agreed to donate labor for the project, Watterson said.

"It's fun (for the community)," he said. "It's almost like a barn-raising. Everyone just wants to help out and pitch in."

The committee is planning a chili cook-off fund-raiser for March 8 at Steamboat Lake Outfitters to help raise additional playground funds.

The "Great North Routt Chili Cook-off" will feature five professional chefs, a slew of amateur chefs and more than enough red chili, green chili, cornbread and brownies, Watterson said.

Admission fees will grant all-you-can-eat access to the food.

The Yampa Valley Community Foundation has donated $850 for the project.

The GOCo trust fund is funded by state lottery proceeds. GOCo annually awards grants to projects that preserve and enhance the state's open spaces, parks, outdoor recreation, wildlife, rivers and trails.

Routt County is sponsoring the grant application on behalf of the playground committee because GOCo awards grants only to local governments, nonprofit land conservation organizations, the Division of Wildlife and Colorado State Parks.

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