City donates playground equipment

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It was a team effort as Westminster city staff worked together in the snow on April 16 to remove the old park equipment at the Jessica Ridgeway Memorial Park.

And instead of the equipment going into the landfill, the city is donating it to Kids Around the World, an organization that refurbishes playgrounds to be used in countries overseas.

Don Tripp, Westminster Parks, Recreation and Libraries director, said in the United States there are now park equipment standards that have to be met when installing new playgrounds, but those same standards don’t apply to many countries outside of the country.

“What’s happened in this country is that certain elements have to be followed when installing new equipment. So even if we took the equipment down, repainted and made improvements we would not be able to continue to use it,” he said. “So it’s great that the equipment is going to a place where it can be used.”

Currently the park is being redesigned in memory of Jessica Ridgeway, the 10-year-old girl from Westminster who was abducted and killed last October.

The park, at 10765 Moore St., has already been renamed the Jessica Ridgeway Memorial Park. The park’s design is meant to celebrate Jessica’s life and will feature equipment that Jessica liked and will have a purple theme, which was her favorite color, Tripp said.

According to a statement from the Ridgeway family, the family is “excited and proud of the city of Westminster’s fundraising for the Jessica Ridgeway Memorial Park.

Jessica would want the park to be a place that embraces the fun and joy she had playing there with her scooter, dog and friends. It will be a place for families to gather and enjoy for years.”

“When you build a park, the features are good for at least 50 years so there is already a long-term investment and symbol of this period of history and the community support for the Ridgeway family,” Tripp said.

“We all remember Jessica and now there’s not going to be a way to ever forget her spirit because it will be right here embedded in this neighborhood and this park.

The total cost of the project is $538,000. Tripp said an additional $25,000 to $50,000 is still needed. He said over the past few months the community had been extraordinarily generous with large and small donations and he hopes the donations will continue until the amount is met.

“If it hadn’t been for the support of the overall region, we wouldn’t not have been able to get this far,” he said.

Tripp said half of the project has already been contracted out and contracts for the other half will be awarded in May.

Construction on the new park is set to begin this summer, with an anticipated completion date of mid-September.

For information about the redesign or to contribute to the fundraising efforts, visit the Westminster Legacy Foundation website at www.westminsterlegacyfoundation.org.

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