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May 3, 2013 - By Alejandra Silva, Staff Writer
The shovels and wheelbarrows were out early Saturday as families, organizations and school clubs got together to renovate Shoshoni's Travis Park playground.
The Shoshoni Recreation District had asked volunteers to help assemble the new items, and many turned up to shovel mulch, construct a swing-set frame and position the connected tall forts.
The project received $15,000 from the Dr Pepper Snapple Group and KaBOOM! Let's Play Community Construction Grant Program, which required that community members put the new equipment together and place it at the play area.
Local children were given the opportunity to choose the equipment from several catalogs, and the final selections were passed on to different companies. Children's Playstructures and Recreation of Colorado offered the best plan within the budget and helped finalize the design and acquire the equipment from Playworld Systems.
Encana Oil and Gas, the Wyoming Community Foundation, Shoshoni residents and other local associations also donated funds to bring $40,000 in equipment to the park.
Angela Weber of the Shoshoni Recreation District said the old playground equipment was outdated, falling apart and in need of renovation. The last changes had been made 30 years ago. With the nearby baseball field and community garden, Weber said the park is a popular place for children and teenagers, and it comes in handy for the recreation district's after-school programs.
"When the weather is nice, they always want to be outside, but we didn't have anything for them to do," Weber said. "They always want to play in the playground."
Erin Starr, the play area consultant from Children's Playstructures and Recreation, said the partnership with the recreation district worked great at bringing in versatile equipment.
"We made sure we got a lot of aspects related to child development -- with the swinging and the sliding and the climbing," she said. "That is an important conversation that we had, to make sure they were all covered in one playground."
Starr said the helpers who arrived first assembled the parts, and then moved them to their correct spots in the playground. Concrete had been placed below the play web Friday and more would be added for the forts Saturday.
"It has something for the older kids, and then we have a few components for the younger kids as well," Starr said.
The play web was already Tuff Taylor's favorite new piece, and although his job was to monitor the activity, Taylor, 8, stopped a few times to help shovel mulch into wheelbarrows.
"This is a great turnout," Starr said. "We're really happy to have all these kids here."
She said she was certain the big group would finish the job soon.
The playground's construction was held in conjunction with Shoshoni Pride Day on Saturday. A few residents stopped to lend a helping hand at the playground before leaving to clean up unwanted items from homes in Shoshoni.
"We bring a trailer around and pick up anything that needs to be picked up and try and clean up the community," Weber said.
Shoshoni Recreation District director Michelle Rambo said the district also is trying to add more to the community garden and improve the fields used for sports. She said they hope to create a more welcoming feeling for all families.