Virus a setback, but hopes still high for playgrounds

Friday, April 24, 2020
Some of the proposed option for Alta playgrounds. The bottom left design has been chosen for the city park, while the PTO is still weighing options for a school design. / Image submitted

COVID-19 concerns have slowed planning for a pair of playground developments in Alta, but hopes are to step up the fundraising process this summer.

“With the virus stuff going on it has been kind of left on hold,” explained Heidi Reetz of the city park board, which is working with the school districts PTO organization on the effort to develop both new city park and elementary school playgrounds.

“Our meeting together in April got shut down, and there was no park board meeting last month because people weren’t comfortable getting together.”

Design work has gotten underway with the company chosen for the projects, ABCreative, a Kansas-based company that has produced over 1,000 playgrounds since 1993.

“We’ve completed projects of all sizes and offer high quality products that are easily maintained, long lasting and that are fun and challenging,” the company says. “Our mission is to help you create outdoor spaces that bring your community together, where everyone of all ages and all abilities can go to socialize, have family time, get fit, and have fun.”

Fundraising for the projects will be challenging, with costs estimated at around $470,000 for the two playgrounds combined.

The park board and the PTO are sharing their fundraising efforts, with the money to be divided for the projects.

Donations can still be made during the quarantine, either in care of the Alta-Aurelia school or Alta City Hall. Please note with donations or on a check memo that the funds are for the Alta Playgrounds Project.

Initial fundraisers through the school and an auction event went well, Reetz said, though the organizations did not yet have an image of the designs to show.

“I think that would have helped us. Hopefully we will be able to have some fundraisers later in the summer, now that people can actually see what we are wanting, to help the kids out,” she said. “People realize that the playground at the school is not the safest and that it will keep getting worse. Also, if we are going to start locking up the playground for some of the events at the school, it makes it that much more important to have something at the park for kids to play on. We also want to incorporate some lighting for safety.”

The PTO’s efforts to choose a potential design for the school playground have been delayed by the closure of the school. The group had just handed off design options to teachers, but they hadn’t yet had the chance to show them to kids for their vote - an important part of the selection process, said Kayla Wilson of the PTO.

“Without school that process is kind of at a standstill - if we try to do the voting online, we’re afraid what we will get are the parents’ choices and not the kids’.”

Important elements for the school playground include disability accessibility. “We want this to be an inclusive place, with more space for kids to run, and a safer base than the pea gravel we have now.”

A pancake fundraiser that was to have been held through the school also had to be cancelled.

“We hope this can catch steam again once the school year is over,” Wilson said. “We would like to start planning some fundraiser events as soon as we start to see the decline in Coronavirus.

“We want to get this done sooner rather than later,” Wilson added. “We haven’t given up hope of getting this done - it’s just going to take a little bit longer.”