By Sarah Elmquist Squires
From playgrounds to port-a-potties, the Fremont District 25 Recreation Board heard from more than a dozen organizations seeking grant funds for a variety of community projects and events. Funded with a mill of district property taxes, the board typically funds between $175,000 and $200,000 in grants. With several hundred dollars in funding requests made on Monday night, board members will have to whittle down what they find the most valuable for investing those dollars.
Willow Creek Elementary
After returning $16,000 in grant funds awarded last year that couldn’t be spent on playground equipment and construction before the year’s end due to weather, the school requested a total of $29,000 that would help finish a project to make the school’s playground equipment ADA compliant. Some of the new equipment that wasn’t finished due to weather has been fenced off this year, with curious and eager children peeking through to see the fun they’ll have once the ground thaws and construction can be completed.
Injury Prevention Resources
Injury Prevention Resources conducts a safety rodeo at the library each year that draws hundreds of kids and parents to learn more about safety measures, including bicycle safety and tips from police and fire officials. Last year the organization fixed up discarded bikes collected through out the year and gave them away at the event, along with helmets for kids. There may not be as many impounded bicycles this year, but organizers requested around $4,300 for the event, which would help with the bike and helmet giveaway.
Wind River Heritage Center
The signage for the Wind River Heritage Center, for which the Rec Board has provided funds in the past, was damaged after a driver slid on ice and and crashed into it, without insurance coverage. The center attracts students each year to learn about the history of the region through its wax museum and other programs. It asked for $6,000 to repair the sign.
Child Development Services
Child Development Services Fremont County – Riverton serves children birth to age five and their families, and each year hosts several events that celebrate youngsters. The organization is seeking up to $20,000 for two events: a 5K walk/run to commemorate the Week of the Young Child in April and would include T-shirts for participants and endowments for volunteer organizations, and a cornhole tournament with a chili cook-off fundraiser called Bags and Beans.
City of Riverton
The city of Riverton requested just under $13,000 to replace playground equipment with ADA-compliant sets at Aspen Park on Sunset Boulevard. A portion of the grant, if awarded, would be matched with in-kind labor for the construction, and replace the concrete in the area if it makes it onto the city’s own budget.
Riverton Youth Soccer Association
The Riverton Youth Soccer Association requested $3,286 for a variety of equipment, including new soccer balls, team benches for tournaments, and a VEO camera and tripod that would allow games to be video recorded from above so that coaches could better assist players in evaluating how they can improve their game.
Riverton Ice Hockey Association
The Riverton Ice Hockey Association requested just over $9,000 in funds for equipment, including goalie gear, helmets, hockey pads and hockey sticks. Hockey, especially for goalies, can be an expensive sport, and the club aims to let kids give it a try without demanding parents make big investments in gear.
Riverton Rendezvous Committee
Every year, the Rendezvous Committee puts on a beloved community event that costs tens of thousands of dollars to put on. The committee requested $9,500 in grant funds that would be used to help put on the fireworks show, rent portable toilets with hand-washing stations, and either purchasing or renting a sound system. The free event attracts people from all over to see the hot air balloons and other fun, and with a new balloon, this year promises to be even better than years past.
Riverton Aquatic Center
The Aquatic Center requested $34,000 to help with the costs of operations and utilities, fix a section of the popular water obstacle course, provide swim lesson scholarships and other aquatic recreational activities.
Riverton Branch Library
For over 20 years, the Riverton Branch Library has provided a variety of community events for kids and teens of all ages and their families. This year the Children’s Department will have eight days of programming with two evening programs for kids with working parents, a Safe Kids Fair to jump start the reading program, and many other popular events. The library requested $3,100 to help cover the cost of programming.
Riverton Booster Club
The Booster Club raises money each year that it gives back to students, and this year, coaches asked the club if it could remodel the concession stand. The concession stand was originally made as part of the lunch line, and currently includes a big fryer and hood and other items that aren’t used for concessions. The district staff are willing to gut the old equipment and asked the club to purchase new concession items, including a popcorn machine, pretzel cabinet, hot dog roller, coffee pot and pizza warmer. The club requested $4,870 to help with the cost of the equipment.
AAU Riverton Volleyball Club
As the club has grown, its equipment needs have grown as well. The club requested just over $2,000 in funds to help with the purchase of volleyballs, ball carts and bags, a lock cart and nets.
The C.A.N. room at the Riverton High School made use of a popular arcade game, Big Buck Hunter, for years, but it’s broken and needs to be replaced. The organization requested $13,000 in funds, $12,500 for a new arcade machine, and $500 for other games.
Hot Notes Cool Nites
Hot Notes Cool Nites offers a concert series that includes two events in Riverton City Park featuring the CWC Community Band and two professional guest artists. The organization requested $3,000 to help put on the concerts.
Riverton Girls Fastpitch Softball
Riverton’s softball fields could use some help. The club would like to get all four fields in shape so they can be used for games – right now, only two are fit for playing. Both the youth and adult leagues are trying to rally to fix the fields, which need irrigation systems added, sod, and the youth club needs other equipment. The girls club requested up to $57,000 to get the fields up to snuff, but organizers realized it may take a few years to get all the funds needed.
Riverton Adult Softball League
The softball league is also aiming to raise funds to fix the softball field complex, and requested $38,000 that would be used in combination with funds raised by the girls club.
Riverton Chamber and Visitors Center
The Riverton Chamber requested $7,550 in grant funds that it would use to rent port-a-potties for community events throughout the summer, including the soccer tournament, balloon rally, Sugarcoats Music and Happy Days, and car shows.
Riverton Lions Club
The Riverton Lions Club seeks to add a restroom facility at the Lions Shelter in Sunset Park. Restrooms in the area are across the field, and many who use the shelter are seniors with limited mobility. The club asked for $5,000 to help go toward the estimated $30,000 project.
Boys and Girls of Riverton
The Boys and Girls Club provides educational fun for an average of 50 children every day, with plans to expand a program at the middle school. In summer months, kids explore the region through field trips, as well, with plans for expanded programming this summer. The club requested $10,000 to assist in those efforts.
Riverton Swim Club
The Riverton Swim Club assist young swimmers in getting to know the water, many of whom join the swim team with an advantage of those experiences when they get older. The club has to rent lanes at the pool for students to swim, and provides scholarships for young swimmers as well. It requested $8,6000 to help with the cost of lane fees, scholarships, equipment, and meet/camp fees.
Central Wyoming Children’s Center for Art, Technology, and Science bings bus loads of students through its doors to explore science, art, and technology at the center. It requested $2,600 in grant funds that would be used to add a robotic arm exhibit and a button making machine.
Wyoming Wildlife Federation
The Wyoming Wildlife Federation provides outdoor summer opportunities for kids aged six to nine during a week-long program series. It requested $2,655 to assist with the event, including supplies and advertising, to help keep the cost of the program affordable.
‘R’ Recreation puts on a Summer Academy for students in kindergarten through eighth grade that last year served over 900 students. Each year the academy takes on a different theme to keep kids engaged. It also supports an ice skating rink in town, which this year will have to find a new location due to the planned demolition of the Tonkin building. The organization requested $40,000 in grant funds that would be used to assist the Summer Academy and the community skating rink.
Riverton Pathways Association
Jim Gores from the Riverton Pathways Association gave a pitch to the Rec Board for funding that could be used to help repair paths in Riverton. Some are in serious need of repairs, and the pathway group is just a handful of people interested in supporting the city’s paths. Last year the group was awarded funds from the board that it wasn’t able to utilize because of the weather last fall, and Gores requested that the board allow the funds to be carried forward this year.
The Recreation Board is expected to meet again on February 6 at 6 p.m. at Riverton City Hall to consider the funding requests.