Wednesday, October 01, 2014

$20K boosts park project

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Senior Writer | 9/16/2013

Quicker than a toddler can say “kaboom,” the City of Ottawa is $20,000 closer to building a playground in Forest Park,  

Dr Pepper Snapple Group and national non-profit organization KaBOOM! have awarded the city $20,000 for a Let’s Play City construction grant, city officials said Wednesday. Officials credited the grant to the city being selected a 2013 Playful City USA in May by KaBOOM!, which strives to promote children’s health and fitness by ensuring “there is a great place to play within walking distance of every child,” according to a City of Ottawa news release.

Quicker than a toddler can say “kaboom,” the City of Ottawa is $20,000 closer to building a playground in Forest Park,  

Dr Pepper Snapple Group and national non-profit organization KaBOOM! have awarded the city $20,000 for a Let’s Play City construction grant, city officials said Wednesday. Officials credited the grant to the city being selected a 2013 Playful City USA in May by KaBOOM!, which strives to promote children’s health and fitness by ensuring “there is a great place to play within walking distance of every child,” according to a City of Ottawa news release.

Members of the Ottawa Play Taskforce said the funds will be put toward constructing a new playground in spring 2014 in Forest Park, 320 N. Locust St., Ottawa. The task force plans to ask community members to take part in the construction, members said.

The playground is the most ambitious project undertaken to improve the parks since the pool renovations in 2006, Wynndee Lee, the city’s  director of planning and codes, said. The playground equipment is estimated to cost $123,000, with additional funding needed for benches, sidewalks, edging and other materials, she said, bringing the total cost to about $150,000. To date, $134,000 has been raised for the project, including the $20,000 KaBOOM! grant and $70,000 in park funds from alcohol taxes that have been pledged for the project by the city, Lee said.

The proposed playground in Forest Park would include a climbing wall and nearby swings, task force members said. The playground is intended to be “inclusive for those with disabilities to play alongside others, whether it is grandparents and children or children of all ages,” the city news release said.

The city obtained a $20,000 grant from KaBOOM! to build a playground in November 2011 at Kanza Park, 200 W. 15th St., Ottawa.

“We are absolutely thrilled to be selected for this funding again,” Fonda Rose, Ottawa Play Taskforce chair, said of the new grant for the Forest Park project. “It will make it possible to build the playground in the spring.”

Ottawa was selected to receive the grant among the 217 communities that earned Playful City USA status in 2013, the news release said. Playful City USA is a national program advocating for local policies that increase play opportunities for children. KaBOOM! developed Playful City USA in 2007 to help local governments address the play deficit among children, the release said.

The grant is part of Let’s Play, a community partnership led by Dr Pepper Snapple Group to get kids and families active nationwide. In 2011, as part of Let’s Play, Dr Pepper Snapple Group made a $15 million, three-year commitment to KaBOOM!, task force members said. Together through Let’s Play, Dr Pepper Snapple Group and KaBOOM! will build or fix 2,000 playgrounds by the end of 2013, benefiting an estimated 5 million children across North America, the release said.  

“The Forest Park playground is still treasured by the community, but it is past its life cycle,” Sara Caylor, Ottawa mayor, said. “And this grant will enable a new playground with features our kids love and new opportunity for inclusive and active play.”

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