The town of Dolores is considering how to pay for a new playground at Joe Rowell Park to replace worn-out equipment removed in 2018.
Options include combining grants and money from town reserves or hiring a part-time fundraiser for the project, said Town Manager Jay Ruybalid. Another idea is to implement a phased-in approach that adds equipment over a few years.
The estimated cost of the playground equipment project is $300,000. The town plans to apply for a $300,000 grant from Great Outdoors Colorado. The grant requires a 25% match from the town, or $75,000. The grant’s application deadline is Nov. 1.
The town was a finalist for a $300,000 grant from the Colorado Health Foundation for the new playground but was not chosen, Ruybalid said.
A parks committee was formed in 2018 and charged with organizing the new playground effort. A community survey of more than 600 respondents showed overwhelming support for it, and the preference is for the former location.
“The survey provides information in terms of what the community is hoping for with the playground,” said board member Tracy Murphy.
There will be a joint meeting between the parks committee and town board at the monthly workshop at 6:30 p.m. July 22 to discuss playground plans. A special town board meeting is also scheduled for July 22 in case the board decides to take action on playground funding.
The town has $1.9 million in reserves, but only $900,000 is potentially available for special projects.
“Our reserves look good and give us the opportunity to move forward on a multigenerational playground and park,” said board member James Biard.
Other items discussed were selecting materials that require minimum maintenance, and budgeting for long-term playground upkeep.
“The playground is a good investment and supports economic development,” said board member Melissa Watters. “It is a stopping place for visitors to take their kids and brings revenue into town.” Survey takers preferred the new playground serve children ages 2-12 and that future park projects incorporate additional play and exercise features for teens and adults.
“The playground should be unique to the town of Dolores and should not be composed primarily of prefabricated components,” according to a survey summary. “Ideally, the playground will again be a significant landmark in the region.”
The board agreed that replacing the playground is a top priority.
“The taxpayers say they miss it terribly and are looking for us to rebuild it,” said board member Jen Stark.