Belle Fourche will get $74Ok grant to revamp Homosexual Park: Inclusivity, ADA compliant amongst chief objectives | Native Information

BELLE FOURCHE –– The city of Belle Fourche is promoting the redesign of the Gay Park to accommodate all children in the region, regardless of their ability.

The Thomas C. Gay Memorial Park, commonly referred to as the Gay Park, is located east of the North Park Elementary in Belle Fourche. In 2019 the park was upgraded with pickleball courts.

The grant is a 50/50 match by the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Division of Parks and Recreation. The state program agreed to fund 50% of the cost up to $ 74,500.

Belle Fourche City Council authorized Mayor Randy Schmidt to sign the grant agreement during its July 19th session. According to the agreement, the funds from the Land & Water Conservation Fund will be provided by GF&P.

Krysti Weed, administrative assistant of the city engineering department, belongs to the group of city workers who are working on the realization of the project.

The play equipment in the park has reached the end of its usefulness cycle, Weed said, explaining the reasons for choosing the gay park from the 10 parks in the city. In addition, the small playground in the park is currently suitable for children between the ages of 2 and 5. The new equipment is designed to serve all children ages 2 to 12, she said.

Weed told the pioneer that over the years she has received many requests from families with disabled children looking for inclusive play opportunities while allowing them to play with their able-bodied peers.

In 2019, the Kennedy Jean Weis Foundation funded the installation of an inclusive swing in the gay park.

None of the other parks in town have all-inclusive play equipment.

Cunningham Recreation, the company that designed the playground, headquartered in Charlotte, NC, works with a wide range of equipment. However, Weed said the company has very well-designed all-inclusive equipment.

“They are working with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the federal government to determine what is and is not conducive to disabled children,” she said.

Weed said the city returned the signed agreement to the state this week and the project is progressing well. She said the city has placed the order for the play equipment at Cunningham Recreational and is aiming for a delivery time between September and October. City teams will carry out the installation in-house.

“We’re going to take out the old gear,” Weed said. “It (the equipment) doesn’t have much life left in it, so we’ll probably just destroy it instead of overdoing it. And then we will build in the new things. “

In addition to the updated and inclusive new gear at the Gay Park, Weed said the upgrade will add more space and gear overall.

“It’s getting a lot bigger,” she said.

The current playground equipment covers around 800 square meters. The new equipment is expected to more than quadruple the playground with more than 3,400 square feet, Weed said.

“It’s a significant expansion,” she said.

Weed said the park could potentially be ready for local children this fall if there are no significant speed limits on the project.

“I really hope it gets here by mid-October,” she said, adding that her estimate is an approximate date.

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