Missoula Parks and Recreation, Trees for Missoula, and their project partners have released a mini-documentary to promote a new playground for Lowell Elementary and Westside Park. The short film, titled “Project Westside Park” tells the story of how area children and community partners came together to design a unique play space that will meet the evolving needs of the school and the neighborhood. The film is available on YouTube at https://youtu.be/-CMtB9IhlVQ.
The mini-doc features local educators, parents, kids and park professionals to raise awareness of the project and explain the need for additional community funding. The City of Missoula, MCPS, and generous community partners have contributed about $730,000 to the project; the playground’s final price tag is $1.5 million.
The new playground’s design includes separate play areas for school-age and preschool children, is 40% larger, and features adaptive equipment to allow children of all ages and abilities to play together. Construction on Phase 1 of the project, including a new picnic shelter and park/playground infrastructure, is slated to begin this fall or early next spring.
Westside Park’s existing wood playground was constructed in 1989 through a community-wide fundraising and build project. The structure has reached the end of its natural life expectancy and no longer provides a safe play environment. Westside Park is located on land owned by MCPS and leased to the City of Missoula, which operates and maintains the park.
The film was funded by Trees for Missoula, a non-profit urban forestry/parks advocacy group. Local filmmaker Josh Nelson produced the documentary. Donations for the playground build are gratefully accepted at https://www.projectwestsidepark.com/.