by Blake Herzog
A$15,000 grant from Arizona Community Foundation of Yavapai County is bringing some very badly needed new equipment to a playground at the James Family Prescott YMCA.
Kids in the Y’s afterschool program for ages 5-12 had been climbing over and swinging from the old equipment for 20 years. Staff had to grab and burn the chunks of wood falling off one structure before they could splinter in a child’s hands. Paint was peeling off a metal climbing apparatus.
A swing set and two large trees that had given the playground ample shade had turned into safety hazards and had to be taken out in the last couple years, said Marsha Holloway, funds development coordinator for the Y.
“That was so sad when we had to take the trees out,” she said. “This is Arizona, so you really need shade.”
She applied for the ACF grant, knowing a shade structure would be the top priority. She asked the kids what else they wanted to see, and the answer came back loud and clear.
“The kids clamored for a swing set. That was what the kids wanted so it’s really interesting. They really, really miss not having that swing set,” she said. “It seems kind of old-fashioned, but the children themselves requested that. So we got it.”
The third piece being added is a Fit Stop to promote physical activities with features such as a climbing wall, rings, ladders and chin-up bars.
The new equipment began arriving toward the end of July, and Holloway said she hopes it’ll be fully assembled by the beginning of September, with volunteer help from McCarthy Building Companies, the contractor working on the expansion of Yavapai Regional Medical Center next door.
McCarthy already has contributed by removing tree stumps and grading the site of the playground, and Riley Weber, a member of Venture Scouts, led an effort to add stairs and a retaining wall to the entrance gate for her Eagle Scout project.
“It’s been quite the community effort,” Holloway said.