Health Oriented Projects Seeing Busy End of Summer

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Emily Nieschburg of LiveWell outlined several visits being planned for Lamar this summer to ascertain how best to use the funding the community will receive for health and exercise oriented projects.  She told Coalition members that due to the amazing attendance at the Family Fun Day earlier this month at Willow Creek Park and the positive feedback from youngsters and families alike, it will become an annual event and some smaller, low-cost projects will  also be developed which should appeal to local families. 

The LiveWell Coalition met last Wednesday, July 17, at the Lamar Community Building for an overview of how the various projects are shaping up.  Healthy Places has a visit planned for August to review the goals set during a visit this past spring from Urban Land Institute.  One area outlined for funding was the 7 mile Lamar Loop walking/horse trail connecting several areas of the city.  Nieschburg said funding for this project should be submitted to GOCO in the fall. 

A design day is set from 4pm to 9pm on July 30 for KaBOOM representatives who will survey the North Side Park and interview area residents for their ideas for playground equipment.  KaBOOM is a national organization that helps fund playground projects when local financial matches and community involvement meets their criteria.  The cost of equipment, Nieschburg said, is around $90,000 and the City of Lamar or a funding partner would contribute about $8,500.  If all goes as planned, the build day will be September 14 and the site would need to be prepared for the single day construction project anywhere from 20 to 30 days prior.  Volunteers from the community construct the playground from the equipment purchased from the donated funds. 

Nieschburg said she was contacted by the Trustees Council from the Colorado philanthropy group, El Pomar and they could provide funding for two local projects, either development of the North Side Community Garden at Lincoln School, part of Project HOPE.  Funds could also tie in with the City’s tree farm.  Another funding area would help finance lighting at the North Side Park or construct a tricycle path along the park’s perimeter.  A skateboard park has also been proposed, mainly from a number of youngsters in the community.  While it’s a viable option, the $300,000 estimated for construction is not readily available from outside funding sources. 

Discussion also focused not so much on exercise oriented projects, but basically on finding ways to provide food for at-need youngsters in the community.  The organization, No Kid Hungry, is planning a visit to assess what kinds of federal funding might be allocated to the community.  Nieschburg said a September planning session has been suggested for Coalition members.  This project will develop on several levels as the RE-2 School District will be involved, as well as the district’s community kitchen or an outside food preparation source.  Snacks will be provided for as well as an after-school meal and perhaps a dinner on Fridays when students have no access to school cafeterias for reduced-priced breakfasts or lunches.  Neischburg said Project HOPE, which is open on Fridays, could qualify for funding for breakfast, lunch and a snack.   

Another LiveWell visit to Lamar is scheduled for July 31 between 8am and 1:30pm for review of plans for to show a developing connection between the community and LiveWell projects.  Two areas of concern are the national nutrition program 5210, which has been put into action in Lamar for some time and a work group to focus on a ‘build environment’ presentation for parks, walking and riding paths and other projects.

By Russ Baldwin

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