West End Playground has a new look thanks to the City of Keyser and a Kaboom Grant to purchase new playground equipment. In May of 2012 the City of Keyser was awarded a Kaboom Grant to purchase new playground equipment in the amount of $20,000. This grant was a matching funds grant that required the City of Keyser to come up with an Additional $10, 000 to also be used towards the purchase of the equipment. Another requirement of this grant is that this be a Community –Built Playspace. What does a “community build” entail? In simple terms, it’s an old fashioned “barn raising” that calls on everyone in the community to pitch in, building lasting relationships in addition to building the playspace. The City of Keyser along with Community Corrections began working on the installation on Thursday, April 25th, hoping to have the site ready for the Community Build day event that was a requirement of the grant. Initially, the volunteers from the City of Keyser met with the gentleman who was delivering the equipment, from Miracle Playground Equipment, so as to get a general idea of how to assemble the most vital parts of the West End Playground. Unfortunately, the gentleman who brought the equipment had very little knowledge of assembly. After hours of trying to create a safe, steady base for the concrete the volunteers and the installer ended up with very little progress. Thankfully, the gentleman delivering our equipment paid, in full, for an installer to come down and aid the community in assembling the remaining equipment base. The two crews worked diligently throughout the week digging holes and setting up the main part of the structure with the help of Professional Installer, Craig Coleman.
There were many miscellaneous costs of the playground build that included concrete mix, digging equipment, surface material, playground boarder, and providing food and water for the three days that the City and Community Corrections were onsite working to prepare the site and installing the structure. Members of the Keyser, WV community began fundraising early on, not only through their giving but in their willingness and determination in independently planning fundraising events and activities to help contribute financially to the project itself.
Support for the project miscellaneous cost came through donations and/or discounts from Potomac Valley Industrial Supply, Grant County Mulch, Kessel Lumber, 84 Lumber, Urice, J & R Landscaping, Boggs, Lowes, Wal–Mart, Breakfast and Evening Kiwanis, Keyser Rotary, Martins, Wayne’s, Nelson Concrete, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Sheriff Jeremy Taylor and Wife Jenny, Councilman Sonny Alt, Dinah Courrier and Gerri Mason, CEOS Team Diversity, Kathy at Gulf/Subway, and Dominos. These local businesses were enthusiastic to back the Kaboom Playground Build and openly shared the excitement with our volunteers.
On Saturday, April 27th the community came out to help make for a successful Build Day. Coordinated by City Administrator Shannon Marsh and Mineral County Family Resource Network Director Gerri Mason, the pavilion was decorated for a celebration. There was plenty of Food and music that was provided by Starlight Entertainment courtesy of Elwood and Jenny Junkins. Starlight provided hours of music to inspire our early morning volunteers and to keep them excited throughout the entire build. Gospel Life Baptist Church was there with several excited members of their congregation. They provided us with a willing and able crew, some of which specialized in construction. These ladies and gentleman rolled up their sleeves to do detail work during the assembly. Community Corrections was there once again, this time with an even bigger crew. These members provided skills that they were the most comfortable with and began by organizing parts to better assist the members who were doing more intricate work. Registered Nurse Peggy Waide was there to see to any medical needs while the MCFRN AmeriCorps VISTA Lauren Borho was there to provide assistance, and individual community members Donnie Marsh, Joseph Redman, A. Jay Root, and a few City workers who donated their time were there to provide a little bit of muscle as well. Councilman Sonny Alt, City Administrator Shannon Marsh, and Mayor Randy Amtower were there to provide support in any way they could and did not hesitate to roll up their sleeves and get right to work alongside everyone else. Even the mayor went above and beyond to show his support for the build. You could find Mayor Amtower in a hole digging, and driving a backhoe or dump truck, there was no job to big or small for him.
Once again this community has risen to the challenge to do something good. At the end of the day the playground got new equipment, new friendships were formed, and everyone who took part in making this happen walked away feeling a sense of pride and accomplishment for a job well done. Most of all the children of this community were provided with a wonderful safe, new place to play.