Hartsel gets grant money for playground | SummitDaily.com

Hartsel gets grant money for playground

Linda Balough
Park County children make the most of the antiquated Hartsel

playground equipment. Thanks to a grant from the South Park Recreation District, they can expect a new facility by summer.|Special to the Daily| |

HARTSEL – Children in the tiny community of Hartsel can spend the winter dreaming of swings, a log cabin playhouse and other new playground equipment.

The grown-ups have pledged to make those dreams come true by the Fourth of July.

When the South Park Recreational District put out the word that money was available for community recreational projects last year, only the residents of Hartsel stepped forward.

Earlier this month, representatives of the South Park Recreational District and the South Park Recreational District Board presented a combined grant of $27,000 to Ron Swanigan, organizer of the playground project.

The money came from funds over and above the money the recreational district will use to build the $2 million recreation center in Fairplay.

“We sent word out to the communities in Jefferson, Como, and even down to Guffey that money was available, but only the Hartsel group responded this time, so we gave all the money to them,” said Monte Gore, recreational district spokesperson.

Most of the funds came from the two groups that make up the South Park Recreational District, and $6,000 came from the Colorado Trust Fund.

Swanigan said the community is planning on a lot of volunteer work to help renovate the playground.

“We have to start from scratch – literally,” he said with a laugh.

The ground in the play area must be broken up, leveled out and soft surface material must be put down before the rest of the work can begin. Swanigan said the heavy excavation work will be donated, and folks in the community are already planning to lend a hand.

“We’re thrilled that they could get the grant to do this,” said Susie Jones, who runs the South Park Mercantile in Hartsel and has seen a revival in the historic community as more and more families move into the area.

Swanigan, who has owned property in the Hartsel area for 10 years and made it his permanent residence in 2000, said the idea for renovating the playground came easily.

“I just took a look at the old playground and said, “We gotta do this,'” he explained. “It’s not just going to be for the kids in Hartsel; it’s for everyone in the surrounding community, too.”

Plans include a small child area and another section for older youngsters, which would include a piece of play equipment that looks like a fire truck.

“We wanted to do that because the ground all belongs to the fire district,” Swanigan said.

The area combines the community center, the proposed playground and a new pavilion that is still being completed.

Members of the Hartsel Community Center, which is sponsoring the work, are already looking forward to the completion of the project.

“We’re planning a pot-luck dinner dance celebration on the Fourth of July,” said Swanigan.

Gore wanted other communities to know that funding is available again for recreational projects this year. For more information about grant funds, call (719) 836-2956.

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