Davis Park Natural Playground receives $12,000 grant

From left: Shelburne Parks and Recreation Committee member Peggy Coutu and Director Betsy Cieplicki receive the grant award from one of the Commissioners at the statehouse last month.

From left: Shelburne Parks and Recreation Committee member Peggy Coutu and Director Betsy Cieplicki receive the grant award from one of the Commissioners at the statehouse last month.

Shelburne Parks and Recreation was honored as one of the 2013 Vermont State Department of Buildings & General Services Recreational Facilities Grant recipients. The grant money, in the amount of $12,000, is dedicated to the Davis Park Natural Playground. Davis Park is located off of Harbor Road, across from the Shelburne Community School. Facilities at the park currently include lighted tennis and basketball courts.

The Parks and Rec Committee, along with Department staff, have been planning this playground renovation for two years. Fundraising from the 2nd Annual Fool’s Flop last spring provided the opportunity to hire the Natural Playground Company of New Hampshire to design the project. In addition to the State Grant money, project funding is also coming from the Davis Park Fund and future fundraising events, along with local monetary and material donations.

“I was thrilled to hear we had been awarded the full amount we applied for,” shares Parks and Rec Director Betsy Cieplicki. “If we didn’t receive this grant, it would have pushed our timeline out quite a bit, and I didn’t want that playground sitting vacant any longer.”

A goal of the renovation is to incorporate natural elements to create a unique playground experience. It was also important for the new playground to be inclusive, not just American Disabilities Act-accessible, and appropriate for young children ages 2-5. The updated playground will be a creatively-landscaped, aesthetically-pleasing, interactive area that is also low maintenance and appealing to all ages.

The Recreation Department is currently working with Trudell Consulting Engineers, who generously volunteered their services to help define the scope of the work and prepare bid information.

“We need to raise about $6,000 to finish phase one,” Cieplicki explains. “Costs for phase two and three were considerable, so we are working with Trudell to modify the design to still fit our goals but in a more economically-friendly way.”

The Department will seek in-kind donation of materials, such as boulders and landscaping elements, for the first phase of construction expected to begin this spring. To donate or for more information about the project, please visit the Shelburne Recreation Department website, www.shelburnevt.org.

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