Volunteer days planned for September 8th and 22nd
SPEARFISH, SD – As part of the 2022 AARP Community Challenge grant to make improvements along its rec path, the City of Spearfish is encouraging community engagement and involvement with the project and invites everyone to volunteer days on September 8th and 22nd to help assemble the wayfinding signs.
We now have all the materials, and we are ready to start the installation portion of the project,” Rex McDonald, Parks, Recreation, and Forestry Superintendent, said, inviting volunteers to meet at the City Park north shelter from 8:30 a.m. to noon on Thursday, September 8th, and at the City Park center shelter from 8:30 a.m. to noon on Thursday, September 22nd, to assist with the assembly and installation of the signs.
The idea of applying for a grant through AARP was brought forth in the fall of 2021 by two Spearfish residents, Peg Holmquest and Janet Briggs. Parks staff were working on a similar idea at the same time. The City Council approved the request to apply for the grant in February, with the news of the $15,692 funding award occurring in June. The City will use the grant funds on improvements from City Park north to Salem Park to create better signage and wayfinding along the rec path, as well as traffic calming and safety measures on Grant and Nash streets where the rec path crosses those roadways. Highly-visible crosswalks, free-standing signs in the crosswalks, updated colorful signage to help people navigate the rec path, and a mapping kiosk at Brady Park will be installed.
Holmquest and Briggs pointed out that to receive funding from the AARP, community and civic collaboration was essential from the start.
Civic and community engagement to complete the project is also an essential part of receiving the funding,” they added, encouraging residents to come out and participate in the upcoming volunteer days.
The City thanked AARP for the generous support that made this project possible, as well as to the individuals and groups who provided suggestions for the rec path improvements, pointing out wayfinding and safety concerns to address to improve usability for diverse groups of users on the rec path. Individuals and groups providing input include Silver Sneakers participants, Bike Spearfish, Spearfish Vision Support Group, and avid community rec path users of all ages and abilities, including walkers, runners, and those using wheelchairs, walkers, white canes, guide dogs, strollers, rollerblades, bicycles, or skateboards.
We thank everyone for their input and the volunteer work time from community sources who helped inform this grant application and subsequent project,” Parks, Recreation, and Forestry Superintendent McDonald said. “
We are looking forward to getting these improvements installed so people can enjoy the results.”
Spearfish was one of 258 projects selected nationwide from more than 3,200 applicants to receive an AARP Community Challenge grant this year. The project must be completed by November, per the grant requirements.
Funding is awarded to proposals that make “quick-start,” tangible improvements to community livability for diverse users of all ages and especially for those 50 and older. The goal is to jump-start long-term community livability improvement. These grants are part of AARP’s nationwide Livable Communities initiative, which supports the efforts of cities, towns, neighborhoods, and rural areas to become great places to live for people of all ages. To learn more, visit aarp.org/Livable.