Hooper celebrates Labor Day by working on playground

Photo by Marie Mccolm The community of Hooper came together on Sept. 4 to assembly playground equipment at the Hooper Town Park.

HOOPER — Fall was in the air on Monday, Sept. 4, at Hooper Town Park. Twenty-two residents, along with Mayor Tommy Dentler, gathered at the park to begin the assembly of playground equipment that was donated by a local school.

Mayor Dentler was optimistic about the event.

“This has been a long time coming. I am pleased that so many people showed up to donate their time today. This will take us about a week here. We are going to start putting up these poles in the seven holes that we just dug. We are going to get that platform put up today, and then after that we will reset and go with more. It will be about a weeklong process. We will have this whole thing eventually fenced up too,” Dentler said.

Mayor Dentler explained that the playground would have about five slides and other equipment. In the area that everyone was currently working in Monday morning, there were poles and stairs set up, but the slides along with the other equipment were being stored across the street from the park in the old town hall. One slide was also too big to store in town hall, so it was at a resident’s house awaiting pick up for the park.

“We have three different stages to the park,” Dentler said. “We have already put up a walking path on the outside area of the park. We have some lights that will be going up. Eventually there will be a basketball court as well. We are hoping that this will help the community. I have four boys and I am hoping this helps get them get out of the house more. This is all really good for the community, and we are excited about this.”

Town Board Trustee Mimi Dolan talked about the progression that led to the playground equipment being put up.

“The way this all started is just amazing. I wrote a grant for COG, which stands for Council of Governments. We got the grant, and it was a matching grant,” Dolan said. “This is phase one of three phases. We just decided what we really wanted to see the playground equipment here first, since we already had the equipment donated to us. We put the walking path in already too. We are also going to put in a fire pit. We will also be installing some solar lights, so if the kids want to play while their parents are gathering around the fire pit, they can do that. We also want to put in a basketball court.”

Dolan explained that they had to fulfill all the requirements for the current grant that they applied for before they could apply for another grant and that meant that they had to have all these things completed by the end of September.

“Grants are hard to come by considering the population for our town is only about 85 total people, so we miss out on a lot,” Dolan said. “COG has been so generous with their funds so we want to meet the requirements so that we can apply for more help when we need to. We want to add flowers, we want to add plants, maybe even little plaques, but we have to go through all these other phases before we can apply for and get more. I am thinking big too, of like an interpretive center for the kids, and maybe even a workout station, and so many other different things.”

Dolan is also a retired schoolteacher and said she is always thinking of children, and in what ways they can benefit and enjoy the new equipment at the park.

Mayor Dentler’s wife, Katie, was at the event and said, “I love seeing everybody here helping this morning. It makes me feel so proud of my community. I am grateful that my kids get to grow up here in a great community full of love.”

For more information on the new playground or the park, you may contact Hooper Town Hall at 719-378-2204.  A ribbon cutting is planned for Oct. 7 during the town’s second annual Block Party.