Steamboat Springs A recent grant for $200,000 brought the Let's All Play group closer to its funding goals for two universal playgrounds in Steamboat Springs. Community volunteers will construct the playgrounds - designed to be accessible for all children, including those with disabilities - during a group-build weekend organized by the Rotary Club of Steamboat Springs from July 24 to 28.
The Let's All Play group, co-chaired by Julie Taulman and Shelly St. Pierre, has raised $780,000 in cash and $150,000 worth of in-kind donations and labor.
The latest grant was provided by Great Outdoors Colorado and brought the group within $20,000 of its funding goals.
About one-third of the overall funding is from the Education Fund Board, which donated $250,000. Another third is from community donations, and the last third is from grants, Taulman said.
Volunteers will assemble the playgrounds at Strawberry Park and Soda Creek elementary schools during a weekend build, when more than 100 posts will be put in the ground at each location and pieces of the playground are assembled. After construction is complete, a concrete pad will be poured and a recycled tire surface will be placed on top to provide cushioning.
Taulman said at least 50 volunteers at a time are needed at both playground sites. Workers, skilled and unskilled, can sign up for half-day shifts on any of the four days, and the group requests people commit to at least three days of work.
"We're really hoping we can get some skilled workers, some weekend warriors and handymen out there for the first day of work," Taulman said, adding that the work on the first day will be the most demanding.
Anyone else is invited during the last three days of the build to finish the work.
The playgrounds will be about 8,500 square feet each and include barrier-free access to children with disabilities.
Steamboat Springs School District Facilities Director Rick Denney said some work has already begun on clearing the sites, and it should take about six weeks from the community build day to finish the work.
The Strawberry Park playground will be open in mid-September, and the Soda Creek playground will be open when construction at the school is complete. Both playgrounds also will include snowmelt systems to make the areas usable in winter.
The final $20,000 needed for the project will be used to fund boilers for the snowmelt systems, Taulman said, so if the money is not raised by the time the construction is complete, they can be added later.
Taulman and St. Pierre were named "Friends of Education" at the June 23 Steamboat Springs School Board meeting for their efforts in making the playgrounds possible.
Anyone interested in signing up to work on the build days should e-mail Angela Catterson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (970) 879-9158.