Parents, kids rally in Dolores to support playground

Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017 2:15 PM

Parents and their children rallied in support of the playground at Joe Rowell Park. It was closed in September, and the town is debating on whether to repair it or build a new one.

Several moms and their kids held a rally in front of Dolores Town Hall on Monday to show support for reopening the playground in Joe Rowell Park.

The playground was closed Sept. 11 by town officials citing safety concerns. The town is waiting the results of an assessment done in October by the original builders to determine its condition.

The town board and a new parks advisory committee are assessing whether the popular playground can be repaired cost effectively, or if it should be replaced.

Parents at the rally, put on by Friends of the Playground, held up posters and waved at passerby who honked their horns. Some stopped to get more information and donate to the project.

“Whether it is rebuilt or saved, I’d like to see it get done sooner rather than later so my kids can use the playground again,” said Marissa Mach, of Dolores. “We used to ride our bikes there, now we have to get in the car and drive to the Cortez playground.”

Keely McLain lives near Dolores and visited the playground regularly with her kids before it closed.

“I’m here to let the town know how important this playground is to younger families here,” she said. “Ideally I’d like it to be refurbished, but if they can’t fix it I I’d like them to move forward quickly on building a new one and not let it go by the wayside.”

Parent Kate Rowan said she and many other parents rely on the playground for their children, and she wants the town to dedicate funding towards keeping one in town. Without the playground, “My kids are getting bored,” stated one of her signs.

“Every kid in this town has their birthday party there,” Rowan said. “Not only should it be reopened, it should be made better. ”

There is a baby boom happening in the Dolores area right now, said parent Angie Stanley, and the playground is a key resource for current and new families.

“It is an important meeting place for us parents to make connections and share advice while our kids play together,” she said. “For the kids, it gives them social skills, expands their creativity and gives them independence.”

The fate of the playground has been an ongoing conversation at recent town board meetings. It will be brought up again at the next meeting Nov. 13 at 6:30 p.m. at Dolores Town Hall.