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The City Journals

Lions Park gets a re-do with the help of community, KaBOOM!, and jetBlue

Aug 30, 2018 01:21PM ● By Jana Klopsch

By Holly Vasic | [email protected]

The recently improved Lions Park, on the corner of 300 East and Morris Avenue, is sure to be a new favorite for kids thanks in part to the efforts of and contributions from the non-profit KaBOOM!, jetBlue airlines, South Salt Lake City employees and area residents.

Despite temperatures in the high 90s on Aug. 9 — the “build day” —  the willingness of participants was rampant as the more artistic painted, the tool savvy constructed, and those with rakes spread wood chips from a pile in the street to the playground. Upbeat music kept the vibe light and fun despite the beads of sweat dripping down most people’s faces. Kids helped too, but took breaks cooling off in the dunk tank. Although some were disappointed they couldn’t touch the power tools the kids did help color banners and other kid-friendly tasks.

Draper Girl Scout Troop 580 donated a library book exchange box complete with books to the park as part of their Take-Action project. After completing a collection of badges, the girls had to decide on a project that would better their community. “They choose to donate the Little Library. We purchased the box, and the girls all helped paint it,” said Troop Leader Jessica Strong who attended the build day with some of her scouts.

Council members Sharla Byrum and Ray deWolfe took part in the day as well. “It was the most fun I’ve had shoveling mulch and mixing concrete,” deWolfe said. “It was just amazing to see how many volunteers came out and to have all the support from jetBlue. I don’t think anything brings you closer to your city and to others than to help out and volunteer within the city. It’s a good feeling to look at the park and think, ‘Yeah, we built that.’”  

KaBoom is a national non-profit with the vision statement that all kids should get the childhood they deserve filled with balanced and active play so they can thrive, according to their website. South Salt Lake Urban Design Director Sharen Hauri applied for the grant and with help from the community and from jetBlue’s foundation, jetBlue for Good whose mission is to inspire humanity in the air and on the ground, the vision became a reality. During a design event in June at the Columbus Center, local kids, with some guidance from parents, planned what the neighborhood wanted the most, like a GaGa ball pit.

Hauri pointed out that Lions Park was originally created by the donations of funds and time from South Salt Lake Lions Club, so the upgrade was in the tradition of the outdoor play area.

Volunteer and South Salt Lake Promise deputy director Bonnie Owens called the day a success especially because the build wrapped up an hour earlier than planned. The day ended with a ribbon cutting by Mayor Cherie Wood. Although the kids couldn’t jump on the play equipment right away, they were already at play the next Monday.