More than 50 “energetic little bodies” working at Beacon Hill Community Playground last Wednesday afternoon ensured landscaping at the site was completed in just over an hour, according to project manager Abigail Schimke.
The children were all students of Lighthouse Christian Academy, behind which the brand new playground is located. With the exception of a preschool and a kindergarten class, the school’s entire student body helped lay sod and do other landscaping duties.
“With all the kids at our school, it didn’t take very long,” said Schimke, who handles finance at the school. “The kids were great. They were all energetic and willing to help.”
Leading the children were four crew workers from the Town of Sylvan Lake. They levelled dirt before sod laying began, and also brought plenty of rakes and shovels for their many helpers.
Sod laying began around 2 p.m., and finished just after 3 p.m. Schimke and other organizers were anticipating a much later finish at around 6 p.m.
Help from community members and members of Gospel Chapel also helped speed things up.
Planning for the project began when Lighthouse Christian Academy received a Community Facility Enhancement Program (CFEP) grant to help fund building of a playground.
Schimke said the school had the grant for “quite a while” and had troubles finding someone to match it.
“We weren’t able to come up with the funds to match it, because it’s a matching grant,” she said.
At that point, town councillors Sean McIntyre and Dale Plante helped bring the issue to council, and the town agreed to match the CFEP grant because the playground is situated on town land.
A location near the school and the new Beacon Hill subdivision proved ideal, and was thought to be beneficial to both students of the school and children of the community.
“This is the best scenario with us having the park as close to our school as possible, but it being on town land,” said Schimke. “It was a win-win for everybody, because Beacon Hill doesn’t have a playground yet and it really facilitates all of the new development here.”
Schimke feels the playground will benefit Gospel Chapel members, as well as other residents of, and visitors to, Sylvan Lake.
“It ended up working out great,” she said. “It’s great for the school, it’s great for the church and it’s great for Beacon Hill.
“In a town where the demographics are young people and young families, playgrounds are a great thing.”