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It may not be heaven just yet, but the Foothills Field of Dreams threw a thank-you event to celebrate everyone who worked to make the dream a reality.
On Tuesday, June 3, Foothills Elementary staff, Lakewood civil leaders and community members all gathered to toast to the completion of one stage of the journey and the preparation for the next.
“We’re very excited that this project is finally going to come to fruition,” principal Susan Borzych said. “When the field is finally done our students will have the chance to have gym class outside for the first time in a long while.”
The fields at the school, located at 13165 W. Ohio Ave., have not been updated in decades and cannot be safely used by the students.
Thanks to fundraising efforts by the school and community, the project received a grant from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), which will pay for $339,090 of the $450,000 project. The school had to raise the remaining $148,000 on its own.
In addition to the fields being rebuilt, there will also be a resurfacing project done on the nearby playgrounds and fencing, benches and landscaping will be installed.
The project got started in 2011 when Reg Cox, pastor of Lakewood Church of Christ, and the Lakewood Pastor Group — which is made up of pastors from 16 different churches — had a meeting to hear about local schools’ needs.
That meeting started a chain reaction that lead to the decision to focus on Foothill and getting something done about the fields.
“When the church is working well it’s really good at bringing people together with a common purpose,” Cox said. “For this we were able to bring leaders together for the good of the neighborhood.”
Leaders like Mayor Bob Murphy and Ward 4 councilmen Adam Paul and David Wiechman got involved in the project in different ways.
“We went to our churches and got collections to help out the school,” Paul said.
For Wiechman, the project is in line with the kind of projects that made him interested in politics in the first place.
“For me this is more of a culmination of a lifetime of these kinds of things,” he said. “The community demonstrated how they’re able to step up and get things done.”
Murphy said that first meeting where he was able to hear all the stories about the local schools’ needs remains one of the most powerful meetings he’s ever attended.
“This project is so meaningful to the community for so many reason and what a prototype for involvement has been created here,” he said.
According to Borzych, groundbreaking will be on Aug. 15 and will hopefully be finished around the end of October.
“I think this could become a new kind of model for other neighborhoods,” Paul said. “If we can get this rolling at other schools, watch out.”
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