CRES receives grant for new playground |

CRES receives grant for new playground

Crystal River Elementary School in Carbondale has received an $83,000 grant from the Colorado Health Foundation to help fund the school’s new playground.

The playground project involved design input from students themselves, working with a design consultant from New York-based Leathers and Associates.

The project is also to be 100 percent volunteer-built, requiring volunteer laborers to construct the playground between April 27 and May 1.

Promoting healthy schools is one of the Colorado Health Foundation’s seven funding strategies, according to the organization’s website,

“That focus of the foundation emphasizes that children be physically active every day, that they play outside for recess, and that schools build structures necessary for physical activity,” said Kira Kearsey, one of the parents who submitted the grant, with assistance from the Western Colorado Preschool Cooperative.

“They want to make sure Colorado children are healthy and active, so they asked a lot of questions about how much time the children get at recess, and whether the students have physical education,” Kearsey said. “Fortunately, those aspects of healthy living are valued here, and this playground will only increase those opportunities for all youngsters in the Carbondale community.”

There have also been several local individual and business donors for the project, including the Carbondale Rotary Club, Aspen Thrift Store and the Thendara Foundation.

The playground grant will also help the CRES Parent Teacher Organization turn its attention to supporting other special programs, such as field trips, supplies and materials, sports equipment, and books.

The PTO is recruiting volunteers from throughout the community to help with building the playground starting April 27.

The evening of May 1, the children will be invited to christen the new structure. The playground design will incorporate a mastodon (with a slide for its trunk) in honor of the recent archeological find in Snowmass, plus Carbondale’s history and original art by local artists.

“The playground will increase play, social interaction, possibly break down any language barriers students might have among each other, and stimulate minds and bodies for increased learning and concentration in the classroom,” PTO President Mandy Brennan said.

To volunteer on the project, contact Kearsey at or 704-1745. Spanish speakers may contact Betsy McMichael at 618-6785.

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