Playground repairs up to Laurel community members

Two fundraisers scheduled to help raise money
Kathleen Gilluly
Thursday, February 4, 2021
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What child doesn’t want to be King of the castle?

Volunteers made that possible with the building of Kids’ Kingdom Playground at Kiwanis Park 15 years ago. Since then, innumerable children have had the joy and pleasure of reigning in their own dominion, as well as sliding, climbing, swinging and more. Today, however, the future of Kids’ Kingdom depends on community members to lead the way.

According to Kara Thomae, a member of the committee at Grace Bible Church which is working with the City of Laurel to determine the best way to maintain the aging equipment, “The playground is in desperate need of being repaired or replaced,” she said. “Failing to do so will result in the playground having to be closed to public use.” While that scenario isn’t imminent, the structures are no longer considered safe and are continuing to deteriorate.

The committee met with a representative from the original playground construction company in mid-October of last year. The estimate given by Leathers and Associates to repair the playground structures was just over $152,000. Replacement of the playground would cost $260,000, according to the company’s estimate. As Thomae noted in a correspondence sent to the Outlook, replacing the wooden structure would result in it having the same issues it does now in another 10 or 15 years. Because of that, the committee decided to seek another bid.

“Montana School Equipment Company located in Great Falls, Montana came and did an assessment of the playground and submitted a recommendation that we do not attempt to repair, but should instead rebuild the entire playground with new, safer, longer lasting materials that will last 35 to 40 years,” Thomae said. “Their bid to replace the playground with an all-new powder-coated metal playground structure came in at $111,213. Their plan would also maintain the castle and train themes and include a variety of new playground components, as well.” The entrance to the park would remain and the donor plaques and pickets would be repurposed in the park.

Thomae emphasized the key to making the new playground a reality lies in the ability of the committee to raise $150,000, which is their target goal.

“That would allow us to rebuild the playground as well as add new fencing, benches and possibly other park improvements,” she said. “The total raised so far is just under $20,000.”

Towards that end, there are two fundraisers coming up to help the committee reach their goal.

First up is the “Bundle of Love,” walk on Saturday, Feb. 13 from 10 a.m. to noon. Then on Saturday, March 6, there will be a “Drive Up Donation” event on from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Both events will take place at Kids’ Kingdom and are free to participate in, although donations will be accepted.

Folks interesting in helping out are urged to donate anytime by visiting the Laurel Montana Community Foundation website at or by mailing a check made payable to the Laurel Montana Community Foundation sent to P.O. Box 1138, Laurel, MT 59044. Donations to the foundation are tax exempt. The non-profit designated EIN is 47-3756434.

For more information on the playground, the committee or efforts to fundraise, contact Grace Bible Church at 628- 4978.


Upcoming Events

Monday, March 8, 2021
Mondays, 1:30 p.m., 201 1/2 E Main St.
Monday, March 8, 2021
Second & fourth Monday at 11 a.m., Big Horn Resort, 1801 Majestic Lane, 281-8455
Monday, March 8, 2021
Free, 2nd Monday, 3-5 p.m., Frontier Cancer Center, 1315 Golden Valley Cir., Billings, 800-227-2345
Wednesday, March 10, 2021
Wednesdays, 7 p.m., 201 1/2 E. Main St., Laurel
Thursday, March 11, 2021
2nd Thursday, 6 p.m., Council Chambers
Monday, March 15, 2021
Mondays, 1:30 p.m., 201 1/2 E Main St.


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