A Dream Comes True for HOPE Center Students


The First Few Rolls are Set in Place at Lincoln School


A four yearlong project is coming to a conclusion at the Lincoln School HOPE Center today, April 20th.  Rolls of fresh sod are being placed over new dirt and a recently installed sprinkler system, creating a grass playground for the students at the school.  It’s been a long time in coming.

Emily Neischburg, Director of the Big Timbers Community Alliance and the One Step Up Program was on hand Friday morning. The Alliance focuses on health and community issues in Lamar, while the One Step Up program works with local youth to help foster their involvement in community affairs.

Despite the chilly weather, some students were helping roll out sod on the playground while others were preparing batches of brownies to hand out to the work crews that are putting the final touches on the project that began with student ideas and comments back in 2013.  They were also enjoying a breakfast of burritos and frozen fruit yogurt cups while they worked.

Neischburg said some of the older high school students who volunteer their services at the Center commented, “I remember when I was a little girl and we had started to discuss this project and now, it’s finally going in.” A mural depicting the grassy project can be seen at the Alliance headquarters at Main and Olive in Lamar.  Neischburg said this was a project all the kids had been counting on.  Lori Hammer, director of the HOPE Center added identical sentiments, says the four years had been a long, long wait for kids who attended the Center when they were only 8 or 9 and had worked to get this accomplished.

The students really never stopped working on the project, holding various fundraising projects to help pay for the materials and staying in touch with community leaders on why the project was important to them. Both directors had commented earlier on how the students had gained personal confidence on being able to speak at length about their desires, on this project and several others around the town.  One aspect is the skateboard park, a student idea, which is now under construction in Willow Creek Park.

Early Stages of Development

Neischburg said a lot of in-kind effort went into the project, from the RE-2 school board, adult volunteers, Martin Schlott and DeWitt Excavating providing the excavation equipment and new soil and the Gallegos family that donated the sprinkler system from Valley Lawn Care.

Although some of the students have already taken a stroll on the new lawn, they’ll have to show some patience and stay off the grass for the next two or three weeks to allow the sod to take root into the ground. A temporary fence is expected to be placed as a barrier and to help avoid temptation. After that it will provide the groundwork for seasons of fun for current and future students to enjoy.  And, give them time to plan out their next community project.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: City of LamarEducationEventsFeaturedPublic SafetyRecreationSchoolSportsWeatherYouth


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