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Front Page » June 17, 2008 » News » Special service district's touch shows up county-wide as ...
Published 2,377 days ago

Special service district's touch shows up county-wide as recreation projects continue


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By CLAUDETTE LANGLEY
Sun Advocate reporter


Michael Harwood, 5, and brother Austin Johansen, 3, enjoy the playground equipment in Wellington.

Despite a $2 million deficit that shut its lending power down at the end of last year the Recreation and Transportation Special Service District projects funded this year are starting to pop up in the county.

A recreation proposal that was waylayed by a funding blockade last November is now brightly apparent in Wellington's city park. The city approached the district board at its Nov. 12 meeting requesting a $30,000 for new playground equipment.

Accompanying Wellington City Councilman Ed Chavez was a representative from Gametime Playground Equipment. Gametime was providing the city with a matching grant to install brand new state-of-the-art playground structures.

The board members were more than supportive of the idea.

"We've done this for other cities including Sunnyside," Boardmember Bill Kromple said at the November meeting. "So in the spirit of evenhandedness we would like to see this happen."

And it did.

Last Tuesday afternoon Wellington residents Michael Harwood, 5 and little brother Austin Johansen, 3, were scampering up ladders, showing their prowess on the miniature climbing wall and racing each other down the double slide.

"It is so great to finally have nice place for them to play," said Cassie Johansen the boy's mom.

With the addition of the brightly colored plastic structures the park is now a blend of new and old as the standard metal slides and swing sets sit in contrast to their new neighbors. On an average afternoon both play areas are well used as the children traverse between the two sites.

Wellington's equipment is just one of the projects to be pushed through once the restraints were removed. Since January the district board has been on a roll helping cities forge ahead on summertime fun projects.

Little League ball players in Sunnyside and East Carbon now have a brand new concession stand at their field courtesy of the district.

Sunnyside city representatives initially lobbied for more more than $73,000 to build the new structure, which is modeled after Price's.

The board granted $80,000 and pumped it up to $91,582 when construction costs ran somewhat higher than originally projected and the structure was completed before the first game of the season.

New artwork that will grace the walls the Carbon County Event Center, at the fairgrounds, is also underway after it was also stalled last November.

The 9-foot piece honoring energy workers is the brainchild of artist Jim Young and is highly coveted by the members of the district as monument to the industries that fuel Carbon County.

"I personally believe we have a beautiful facility out there," said Boardmember Sam Quigley at the Nov. 12 meeting. "And I also believe in 30 years when that facility is torn down that the only thing of real value that will be left will be the art work by our own local artist."

And as summer unfolds the district's reach will get even broader as a new walkway in East Carbon gets underway and residents from both that city and Sunnyside will have new outdoor recreation area. The district recently approved $75,000 to be put toward the $286,394 10-foot paved path.

Some of the season's most popular events will also indirectly benefit from the district board as well, when residents and visitors head to Helper to view the plethora of art displayed at the annual arts festival the board had a hand in helping push forward the overall effort.

While special services wasn't able to directly fund the event, board members did advocate that the county restaurant tax advisory board loosen up some funds for it.

The same effort was made on behalf of Sunnyside's Community Daze helping to ensure that the annual rodeo that accompanies the summertime event was able to go forward.

The Recreation and Transportation Special Services District meets the first Monday of each month at 3 p.m. in the planning and zoning building.

For more information, call Linda Ballard at 636-3263.


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