Grand Junction’s Canyon View Park sees playground upgrade
WHAT: Canyon View Park playground Grand Opening
WHEN: Friday, May 8, 6 p.m.
WHERE: Canyon View Park, near G and 24 roads in Grand Junction.
John Leane, a Grand Junction local, never imaged a playground would be donated in his name. But thanks to a special human connection spanning three decades, that’s exactly what’s happening at Canyon View Park.
Kathy Welsh, now of Boston, lived close to Leane and his family in Indiana in the 1970s. At the time, Leane needed a babysitter to care for his four young children. Welsh, who was 11 at the time, became their babysitter, and quickly became part of the family.
“I didn’t come from a great, loving family,” Welsh said. “Nancy and John took me in during those critical teenage years and welcomed me to their family.”
They took her on trips, played basketball together, and just hung out. When Leane and his family moved to Grand Junction in 1978, the families went their separate ways.
Many years later, Welsh — thanks to her husband’s success in business — was able to start a side project called Play 2 Dream Foundation. It helps build playgrounds through financial donations.
Though Play 2 Dream Foundation primarily operates in the Boston area, according to Leane, Welsh expanded her reach by donating a playground in his honor locally.
“This playground is the payback for their care,” Welsh said. “They showed me what a loving, caring family is all about.”
The new equipment, which is estimated to total around $300,000, will upgrade and expand the playground area for Canyon View Park, located near G and 24 roads in Grand Junction. The new play area will be named John Leane Canyon View Park Playground.
Leane was a contract employee for 17 years with the City of Grand Junction as the adult softball organizer.
“I had no idea it was coming,” Leane said. “It’s a wonderful feeling. It’s certainly a surprise and I am very pleased that the community is going to get a heck of a playground.”
A LARGER PLAYGROUND IN STORE
According to Traci Wieland, Grand Junction parks and recreation department’s superintendent, Canyon View Park’s previous playground equipment was nearing its 18th birthday. Though equipment typically lasts 20-25 years, high traffic at the park meant the playground needed replacement sooner. Plus, the new set up is bigger. The previous playground only used 17,000-square-feet of space at the park. The new playground will total about 32,000 square feet.
“Kids with any abilities or challenge will be able to play on this new equipment,” Wieland said. “These playgrounds can be enjoyed by parents and grandparents as well. It gives everyone a chance to get exercise without even knowing it.”
Welsh added that the equipment is meant for fun fitness from ages 2 to 92.
The new playground will also feature easy access to equipment for strollers and wheelchairs. It will have brightly colored features, panels for learning, and age-specific playing areas for young children and teens.
“These kids can now play side-by-side with each other no matter what the ability level is,” Wieland said.
The playground is set to have a grand opening on Friday, May 8, at 6 p.m. It will include a short ceremony, kids’ activities, food, refreshment and free reign of the new playground.
For more information, visit http://www.gjcity.org.
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