Some say to fully appreciate the present you must first appreciate the past. So with that, I want to reflect on where we were with the Will Rogers Park just a few years back. Two years ago we had a park in desperate need of attention.  It wasn’t the fault of the city really. Budget cuts hit hard and the reality is the economy has been stagnant for a long while now. Playgrounds don’t exactly get top priority when jobs are on the block. But I digress.

Just look where we were.

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Now look where we are. We have a splash pad that draws in kids and families from not just Claremore but from all of the surrounding communities.

We have a new playground for kids to play and be active.

We are making strides. It may not seem like it, but we are.

Currently, there are two grants out that we will find out if we have been awarded at the end of July; one is for a walking trail to weave throughout the almost 5 acres of land and another for a bathroom/picnic facility to go next to the splash pad.

In the next few months the brick memorial will begin its installation. We have had so many purchase bricks to celebrate military servicemen and women, families, loved ones and accomplishments. We have secured financing for that portion through members of our community.

A big shout out to the Elks Lodge and to the Cherokee Nation. The Elks Lodge has raised funds for new swings and Cara Cowan and Lee Keener, our Cherokee Nation representation, rallied for funds that will enable us to place artwork around the playground that will be both educational and beautiful.

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Thank you isn’t enough for the support from the people who have bought bricks and benches –organizations like Volunteers for Youth, the Mom’s Club, Melton’s, MoreClaremore, and CHS Class of 63.  The benches will be also installed this fall.

And today…well today, I am celebrating trains. Trains? Yes, trains.  Last week, the project received word that we got a grant from BNSF. Today, we met with Mr. Joe Faust and were presented with a check for $10,000 to go towards a final piece of equipment that will sit just behind the current new playground. Today we #embracethetrain extra tight. BNSF catapulted the project with its support and it was great showing the representative how many kids were at the splash pad.

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We have proven that we will use a great park.  We have proven that youth groups and families, mom groups and schools will come out and play and walk through a little slice of nature in our great town.

We are a long way from where we were. Together, we are building a better park –a better Claremore for all of us; however, we aren’t all the way there. We aren’t done. We aren’t finished. We need donations. We need the major donors to help us complete our final phase of equipment. We need the little donations. Donations of every size will get us to completion. We need around $40,000 dollars to cross the finish line on the playground. We need a shade pavilion for the families to use around the playground. We need bricklayers for the memorial and we could use concrete donations.

So I am calling all businesses, organizations and community members!!! Let’s finish this! Let’s finish strong!  Let’s show we are more in Claremore.  Let’s believe in the power of us.

For information, please contact Crystal Wood Campbell at 918-381-4482 or willrogersparkproject@gmail.com