Beartooth Park project receives monetary boost


OurKids donates $5,000 to City of Powell for specialty playground equipment

A plan to turn Beartooth Park into an accessible playground for kids with developmental disabilities received a boost at last week’s Powell City Council meeting.

OurKids, a local non-profit that serves as a support group for parents and caregivers of kids and adults with special needs, presented the city with a $5,000 check to be used for the purchase of specialized playground equipment. Group founder Brandon Douglas said OurKids looks forward to working with the city on the Beartooth project, and are optimistic about the opportunities the project presents.

“When we started this organization about three years ago, our goal was to build a facility or help facilitate a facility that offers sensory playground equipment for kids with disabilities in a safe environment,” Douglas told the council. “That’s something that’s already being done with the fencing part of Beartooth Park. During conversations with Del [Barton, Parks and Recreation superintendent], he said he’s looking at installing this kind of equipment as it comes along, so OurKids would like to donate $5,000 toward that cause.”

Mayor John Wetzel accepted the donation on behalf of the city and the council with words of thanks.

“That’s really pretty cool,” Wetzel said. “We sure appreciate the work, and we’re willing to partner to keep it moving forward. It will help when we know how much it’s going to cost, but this donation is a huge help. We really appreciate it, and I think it fits well into our vision of where the parks are going.”

Barton is in the process of putting together a project estimate, and he will be attending a symposium this week in Butte, Montana, hosted by Great Western Playgrounds. The symposium is an opportunity for Barton to get an idea of the types of equipment available, as well as what would best fit Powell’s needs. The OurKids donation will expedite the process.

“It sure is greatly appreciated, and we will definitely put it to use,” Barton said. “With these ever-tightening budgets nowadays, it’s certainly going to help us to put money toward the type of equipment [that] will work best over in the park. I think it’s great.”

Before any equipment is purchased, Barton said they most likely will run the ideas past the OurKids organization first, to make sure it will be compatible with the majority of the kids who could use it. He’s hoping his trip to Butte will provide more insight into what’s available, as well as pricing information.

“Great Western Playgrounds knew we were looking into purchasing some specialized equipment, so they invited me up,” Barton said. “I’m looking forward to the trip.”

Besides fencing in Beartooth Park, the Parks and Recreation Department recently purchased an adaptive swing as its first piece of equipment for the project. The swing is due to arrive by the end of the month and will be installed right away.

“We’re going to keep putting in the equipment we can with the money that’s available,” Barton said. “We’ll now have one piece of specialized equipment, and we’ll look to get some more here fairly soon.”

Winters named to Park County Drug Court Board

Mayor Wetzel recently met with the Executive Director of the Park County Drug Court about appointing a representative from Powell to its board. Wetzel approached Water/Wastewater Superintendent Bill Winters about accepting the position and Winters agreed.

“It’s a pretty important job, and over half the clients going through the drug court are from Powell, so it’s pretty important we have some representation to help make this successful,” Wetzel said.

The drug court program is a supervised treatment program designed to accept non-violent offenders with one or more substance abuse problems, including alcohol, according to the Park County website. Drug court combines treatment with immediate consequences for violations and instills life skills that many defendants lack. Participants are required to attend numerous counseling sessions and to become productive members of the community.

Winters said he was more than happy to take on the role and is looking forward to it.

“Hopefully it will be an opportunity to contribute and give back to the community,” he said.

City Administrator Zane Logan said he believes Winters will be a valuable asset to the drug court and a good representative for Powell.

Cason Addition Annexation passes second reading

A plan to annex roughly 31 acres of property into the City of Powell — and eventually turn it into a subdivision — moved another step forward Monday.

On its second reading, the City Council unanimously passed a measure that would make the “Cason Addition” a part of the city.

The property is owned by Cason Enterprises, LLC and located north of Seventh Street, with Wyo. Highway 295 on the west side and Day Street to the east.

“The third reading is coming up, but there hasn’t been a lot of input from the public since the public meetings,” Logan said. “There were some questions from the council about weed removal, things of that nature, but it sounds like the developer is on top of that.”

The third and final reading of the resolution will be held April 3.