The Colony Courier-leader > News
Kids Colony gets revamped with a little help from the communities smallest activists
Local Girl Scout troop holds fundraiser, garage sale to boost funds for Kids Colony 2
By Marthe Stinton, email@example.com
In 1993, residents and businesses in The Colony came together to build Kids Colony, a well-planned playground that was build through lots of planning, fund raising, scheduling, and building - all done by volunteers.
Pam Nelson, community service director, said Kids Colony I was a community-designed and community-built playground.
"Over two weekends hundreds of member of the community came out and built it," she said. "Part of the fundraising was the selling of name boards. They were then installed throughout the playground. Over the years, the playground deteriorated to the point where it was becoming unsafe."
Wood structures have a certain life expectancy so the department went to the Community Development Corporation board told them they needed to tear down the playground, but wanted to keep its tradition of being a community-built amenity, Nelson said.
In 2010, during Phase I of the Kids Colony rebuild, the first of two structures was torn down during by community volunteers. The new structure was nature themed. The idea was that the first phase of the replacement was to depict how the area looked before settlers came the 1800s.
"What is on the ground now was the first phase of Kids Colony 2," Nelson said. "It is custom designed and has a cotton gin, a school house, a general store and a bank. The thing that is going to be unique, is that it will be our first universal access playground - meaning that children of all abilities and disabilities will be able to play together on the structure. It is ramped a certain way to allow children in wheelchairs."
The universal access playground was a vision and a dream that Keith Helms, former park development manager, had when he worked in Mesquite.
"There are going to be additional phases to this project after this first phase is built," Nelson said. "One of the special things is that there will be a sensory garden with planter beds and plant materials with different textures and colors that will hopefully attract butterflies. There is also going to be an area with outdoor musical instruments like a xylophone and drums. It is going to be a very unique and special space and place because of the design elements that are going into it have never been put into any of our playgrounds before."
According to the city's website, an invitation is extended to the community to once again join neighbors, friends, businesses and civic organizations to build Kids Colony 2. In addition to the community fund raising effort, a portion of the funding for the playground is being provided by the CDC.
"We are trying to keep the community as involved in this as we possibly can," Nelson said. "Then, toward the end of February or the beginning of March, we will do a community build to start the next phase. People can come out and help build the pioneer town that is going in."
The community has banded together to raise funds for the project, including a local Girl Scout troop that is holding a yard sale and hot chocolate stand this Saturday from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the intersection of Rock Canyon and Rolling Hill.
"Last year, we asked the girls how they wanted to help others with the money they earned from cookie sales," said Jenny Smith, spokeswoman for the Daisy Girl Scout Troop 4723. "They came up with many different ideas, but the unanimous decision was to 'help other kids.' They did not necessarily have specific details, they just knew they wanted to do something good for other kids."
Troop leaders contacted the city for ideas and learned about the plans for the new Kids Colony 2 playground.
"We jumped at the opportunity to donate and serve cookies to the volunteers working on the site," Smith said. "While there, the girls noticed the name boards on the pavilion ceiling and watched as volunteers cleaned up the last of the old boards. They agreed it would be really neat to make a donation toward the playground and have their Girl Scout troop number on a board of their own."
Smith said the troop, which consists of fifth graders from several different schools in The Colony, had so much fun serving the volunteers, that the idea came together for them to serve hot chocolate in an effort to raise additional money for the playground.
"After further brainstorming, we decided to make it a little bigger and have a yard sale too," Smith said. "This is a great opportunity for the girls to put into action parts of the Girl Scout Law. During the sale, the girls will practice being 'friendly and helpful' to patrons and with the donation, they will have done something to 'make the world a better place.'"
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