Covers for new park equipment next on nonprofit's list of goals

Jade Shelton — a third grader at Lincoln Elementary School — serves lunch during Thursday's NARFE meeting at the 4H Senior Center in Junction City. I.C.A.R.E. Executive Director Vickie Bobbitt was the meeting's featured speaker. I.C.A.R.E. works to unite people from different generations.

Work is currently being done to install new equipment at Junction City’s Playground Park, but some additional moves might need to be made to secure protection for that equipment.

Several visitors at the 4-H Senior Center received an update on playground initiatives during Thursday’s National Active and Retired Federal Employees (NARFE) meeting.

Vickie Bobbitt — the executive director of the Intergenerational Clearinghouse and Resource Educational (I.C.A.R.E.) Center — spoke about one of two projects currently underway at the park. I.C.A.R.E. members have led an effort to install new multi-generational equipment there, which will be used for exercising by adults.

“It helps parents and grandparents be active while children play,” Bobbitt said. “No longer will they have to go and sit on a bench while their kids play. Playground equipment has always been geared toward children, but we think it’s important to have something for adults too. It’s a way to keep an eye on the kids while setting a good example through their own exercises.”

New childrens equipment is also being installed at the park. Quality Play for All, a nonprofit organization focused on improving parks and outdoor spaces in Junction City, secured funding for the childrens equipment to be installed there. I.C.A.R.E. — a nonprofit agency that works to unite people from different generations — secured funding for the adult equipment to be installed there.

Each piece of adult equipment will be able to accommodate two or three people at a time, while approximately eight people will be able to utilize the park’s adult space at a time, Bobbitt said.

I.C.A.R.E. secured a large portion of funding for the adult equipment from Blue Cross Blue Shield, which donated more than $30,000 toward the $45,000 project. Athco LLC — based in Kansas City — is installing the equipment.

I.C.A.R.E. will also install three benches in the adult portion of the park. The first bench is dedicated to Ruth and Josephine Rago, who donated the money to pay for it. The first bench cost $750, but an additional $253 had to be paid to Athco in freight and installation charges. Bobbitt said she recently spoke to Junction City Parks and Recreation Director Ed Lazear about installing the other two benches, however. He agreed to help with that, so I.C.A.R.E. will not have to pay for installing the other two. The second bench will be dedicated to Valley View Senior Life and the third bench will be dedicated to the Geary Community Healthcare Foundation, since those organizations donated funds for them, Bobbitt said.

But there is additional equipment that needs to be acquired, Bobbitt said.

“The next project is; we will need some shade,” Bobbitt said. “They had to remove a tree to make way for a walkway. We need to do a fundraiser to get a shaded cover or canopy to cover the equipment.”

Athco has estimated that the installation of canopy equipment will cost more than $13,000, Bobbitt said.

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