City renovates two playgrounds as part of plan

Brett Berntsen
Antwan Atole, 3, gets some playtime in on Thursday at Foothills Park.

FARMINGTON – Local children have a pair of new playgrounds to enjoy, as the city continues efforts to improve local recreation areas.

City officials are holding ribbon-cutting ceremonies Saturday at Foothills Park and Beckland Hills Park to christen the new equipment.

Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Director Cory Styron said the department strives to make improvements on at least one park every year as part of a master plan developed in 2014. Costs for the two projects totaled around $200,000, Styron said.

The new equipment replaces aging structures and hard, sandy surfaces. Renovations at Beckland Hills Park include a base of wood chips, and features such as a climbing wall and multiple spinning apparatuses.

“Those are always the most popular,” said Ed Reed, a regional sales correspondent for The PlayWell Group, a company contracted to build the playground.

Designers also took the needs of parents into account, adding multiple shaded benches around the park.

The amenities appealed to Chris Archuleta as he watched his 2-year-old son Cruz play on a sunny afternoon on Thursday.

“They will come in handy because it’s going to get hot soon,” Archuleta said. “I’m already sweating a little bit.”

The sun heats up the new playground equipment on Thursday at Foothills Park.

Barbara S. Yazzie of Bloomfield was also at the park with her 5-year-old grandson Noah.

“He wanted to come here because it has a slide,” Yazzie said. “And it’s better than having to go to Burger King to find one.”

Yazzie, a former school teacher, said children today need access to parks more than ever before. She said many schools struggling with funding are forced to close their playgrounds on the weekends.

Farmington contains 31 neighborhood parks and 42 playgrounds, according to the parks department's master plan. But only 30 percent of city residents live within walking distance of a recreation facility that meets the city's standard level of service, according to a survey included in the plan.

In the survey, many residents of southeast and southwest Farmington expressed low satisfaction rates in terms of their access to recreational opportunities. The two parts of town also have the lowest median income levels and the highest percentages of Hispanic and American Indian populations, the survey showed.

Beckland Hills Park and Foothills Park both serve northeast Farmington, an area with the highest median income and lower diversity levels.

Styron said next year, renovations will take place at Boyd Park, located on the south side of town.

Brett Berntsen covers government for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4606..