Local West Point playground project prepares to break ground | CullmanSense


West Point playground project prepares to break ground

The final phase of construction will include handicapped-accessible features and a collection of outdoor musical instruments for sensory experiences. / Photo courtesy Landscape Structures, Inc.

WEST POINT - The Tribune caught up with Lori Bates, the director of the West Point Elementary School playground project, for an update on progress.  Among other things, she shared exciting news that the project will put “boots on the ground” at the site in the next few days.

“Demolition is set to begin within the next week,” Bates explained, “by volunteer and alumnus Micah Sims.  We will recruit a group of additional volunteers to help remove the items once demo is complete.  We are hoping to have enough volunteers and dump trucks to make this step a zero spend with money.  Ms. (Angie) Yarbrough has contacted someone to begin work on the land and drainage areas as soon as we have everything cleared out.”

The playground, which serves both the elementary and middle schools (approximately 750 kids per weekday) and functions as a city park on weekends, is suffering the effects of time.  Many pieces of equipment, including monkey bars, seesaws and swing sets, are more than 30 years old.  The seesaw planks and crosstie boundary beams are dry and splintered.  Metal is rusted, and ground cover under the equipment is in poor condition.  The outdated facility also lacks access and activities for children with special needs.

Once the site is ready, Landscape Structures, Inc. and its local representative Playscapes of Alabama will begin construction on the first phase of the new playground, which will include equipment from its Evos line geared toward children ages 5-12:

Ground to ground arch with two attachment points
O-Zone Climber
Ring Tangle Climber
Bow Ladder
Rubber mulch safety surfacing with containment timbers

This phase of construction is scheduled to be completed before Oct. 1, at a contracted cost of $38,770.

The second phase, which will greatly expand the playground with equipment that will include offerings for handicapped children, has not been scheduled.  Fundraising is still underway to cover a projected total project (both phases) cost of more than $130,000.

Bates is thankful for several project partners, sponsors and donors who have stepped up to help, including KaBoom, Surgical Care Affiliates, Hayek Foundation, Alfa Insurance Holly Pond/ Talisa Shikle, Sweet T’s of Cullman, Cullman Lions Club, Wal Mart and the City of West Point.

Bates added to that, “And the kids from the elementary school have done great with their own fundraisers!”

Between donations, grants and fundraising events, the project currently has approximately $54,000 in its fund.  Generating money has been a challenge according to Bates, who explained why she is pushing people to open their pockets.

“We have been turned down for multiple grants that we have applied for and are still looking for donations of any sort; big or small, they all help.  This project isn’t one that will only be used by a few people or just the school, it is a community project and will last for years to come.  We are always looking for people to get involved.  We have previously asked for lump sum donations, but it would be great if there were people or businesses that could donate toward portions or specific pieces of the playground.

“I am willing to talk to anyone interested in the project or needing more information.  I would encourage any of our West Point Alumni to make a donation toward the future of our children and community.  You don’t have to live in West Point to still have a heart for the school and community that you grew up in.”

Information about the project and opportunities to contribute can be found on the project Facebook page at www.facebook.com/WPESplaygroundproject.

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  • Evos “ring tangle” climber / Photo courtesy Landscape Structures, Inc.
  • Bow ladder / Photo courtesy Landscape Structures, Inc.