by Blake Herzog
The October installation of brand-new, safer equipment in a playground at the James Family Prescott YMCA was the result of the heroic efforts of several community groups and businesses determined to make a difference for 5- to 12-year-old kids who’d been climbing on deteriorating 20-plus, year-old structures.
Marsha Holloway, funds development coordinator for the Y, said the commitment of everyone involved with installing the equipment allowed the project to continue through the pandemic when much of the campus was closed and there was almost no staff or money available.
A swing set, Fit Stop jungle gym and shade cover were purchased with a $15,000 grant from the Arizona Community Foundation-Prescott, as first reported in the Late Summer edition of Prescott LIVING.
McCartney Construction, the contractor for the expansion of Yuma Regional Medical Center going up next door to the YMCA, did the site work and installation through its McCartney Heart Hats community outreach program.
Anderson Asphalt contributed 45 tons of sand, plus the use of equipment. A squad of Eagle Scouts have or will donate time and resources to related projects, including a retaining wall and stairs and a mural.
“I called the troop and said, ‘Hey…’ and the next thing I knew I had six Eagle Scouts doing projects,” Holloway says.
Through much of the pandemic nearly all the YMCA’s services were shut down, but its preschool remained open for the children of essential workers. Holloway said she’s very grateful to everyone who helped give the playground its much-needed renovation.
“We were helping the community, and when we needed them they came to help us,” she said.
She said the swing set, the most requested item by kids during the planning process, is turning out to be the most-used in practice, with lines forming behind each of the four swings. The quality of the installation by McCartney should ensure it’ll withstand regular use, she adds.
“That thing’s not coming out for another 20 years.”