One Step Up Kids Going Buggy!!


Willow Creek Park Artwork


Lamar kids are becoming more connected to the great outdoors. Students from One Step Up and the HOPE Center at Lincoln School have been working to complete two long-range projects.  One is to see sod laid on the dirt playground at Lincoln School and the other is the completion of the skate park, proposed for Willow Creek Park this spring.

This past Friday, December 15th, students were having a working lunch in the gym, busy scripting thank you cards and letters to contributors and partners for their sod project.  They were also preparing to paint some bugs scattered around the gym floor.

Working with Mr. Miller

Emily Nieschburg, who heads the Big Timbers Community Alliance, said the students have been pursuing their goal for several years, “They needed at least $20,000 from their partnerships and these kids have managed to raise $31,000 in cash and in-kind contributions for their sod project. They show up at the Center every Friday to make their project come to life.”  She said one young student, Hector, began the concept several years ago following a concept mural that was developed by the students and local artist, Barbara Preskorn in 2013.

Hector, who is now 13 and a student at the Lamar Middle School, said he and a friend, Diego, got the idea for sod three years ago. Consider that at the age of 13, this is almost a quarter of the young man’s life to maintain his interest and dedication to realize a goal. “We just thought it would be a lot nicer if we could go out and play on grass instead of the dirt all the time.  In the spring and summer it would be a lot cooler,” Hector explained.  Nieschburg said the irrigation piping and the new dirt was measured and put down this past fall and the sod will come in sometime in April, about 23,000 square feet to cover the playground for the first time in years.

The second part of the afternoon involved bugs, things that look like they come to life in a junkyard in some kind of science-fiction movie. The bugs have been created from used parts, mostly metal.  From headlights to wheel spokes, from springs and levers and ceiling fan blades…anything was up for grabs that could be used.  Nieschburg explained, “For the past several years, the students have wanted a skate board park and the city finally secured funding through a grant from GoCO.  They’ve spent the past summer going into their own backyards or from door to door, asking for donations of used parts and equipment from cars, fans or trucks.  They’d lay the pieces out and get a general idea of what kind of bug they wanted and Jeremy Miller, a local artist who has worked with us in the past, would put their ideas into a finished work.”  Not quite finished, as the students had the rest of their afternoon to select the colors they wanted and started to apply the paint they wanted which would be done in several layers through the winter. The park will be built on the east side of the creek in Willow Creek Park this spring using funds from an Inspire Grant. The students will meet with the Lamar City Council to see about donating their art work for an outdoor project to accompany the skate board park.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: City of LamarCountyEducationEntertainmentEventsFeaturedRecreationSchoolThe ArtsYouth


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