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G'view kids helping choose park toys

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Ray Romero nearly pins Mason Webb of Squalicum during state wrestling action this weekend.

GRANDVIEW - When it comes to making decisions for the City of Grandview, the local city council usually takes the reigns. However, Thursday afternoon a different approach was taken to decision making in Grandview.

Grandview Parks and Recreation Director Mike Carpenter, along with Parks and Recreation Deputy Director Gretchen Chronis and other members of the local playground committee, split up and took the decision making process to the schools.

"We need your help," Chronis told a group of third grade students Thursday afternoon.

The Parks and Recreation Department is looking to the children of the community to help decide which of three different playground structures should be built at Grandview's 28-acre Dykstra Park.

Funding for the construction of the playground structure is coming from a variety of sources, including donations from several different service clubs and private groups. The bulk of the funding for the project came in the form of a grant from the Yakima County Rural Enterprise Community, which awarded the Grandview Parks and Recreation Department $30,000 for the project. Carpenter said an additional $10,000 was donated to the project from an anonymous donor.

Chronis explained the entire process to Leslie Charvet's third grade class at Arthur H. Smith Elementary School by telling the 8 and 9-year olds that the city had received a large amount of money and wanted to do something wonderful with it.

"Here's where we need your help," Chronis told them.

As Carpenter handed the students voting ballots, Chronis took time to talk to them about the three options the city is looking at for the playground structure.

Reading off descriptions that included monster slides, rock climbers, play storefronts, talking tubes, suspension bridges, spiral slides and climbing poles, Chronis instantly grabbed the attention of every student.

After talking to them about each structure, she asked the students to close their eyes and try to imagine what each one would look like.

"They are all wonderful," Chronis told the students, explaining that when it came time to cast their vote for a playground structure they should be thinking about what activities they like to do and which structure they thought would be the most enjoyable.

Then each student was allowed to cast their vote for their favorite structure.

"We can assure you that one of these is going to come to Grandview," Chronis said.

Carpenter said the playground structure that proves to be most popular is scheduled to be installed in the park this spring, before schools let out for the summer.

Voting on the three structures will continue through Friday, Feb. 27. Anyone interested in taking a closer look at the three playground options or voting on their favorite can do so at Grandview City Hall or the Grandview Parks and Recreation office, where descriptions and diagrams of the three structures are on display.

. Elena Olmstead can be contacted at (509) 837-4500, or e-mail her at eolmstead@eaglenewspapers.com

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