Shelley citizens come together to fund brand new park - East Idaho News

Shelley citizens come together to fund brand new park

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SHELLEY — A new park is being constructed in Shelley thanks to the funding from private citizens.

What will become Croft Twilight Park when completed has been funded by a mixture of past and present Shelley residents, GoFundMe donations, the North End Recreation District and the Croft family, all together raising nearly $90,000 so far. The goal of the fundraiser is to reach $125,000, with the park opening officially on Spud Day — Sept 21, 2024.

“(This project) is a labor of love,” said Project Manager Jim Cotterell. “It’s just been really rewarding for an old man that has done stuff like this for money. I’m getting a lot more satisfaction and joy from donating this time and work then what I did for pay.”

The idea to build the park started when Lorin and Connie Croft purchased the empty lot at 806 Twilight Drive in front of their home. Rather than a subdivision, the couple wanted to see a park built on the property, so they donated the land to the city.

Unfortunately, the city wouldn’t be able to build a park on the land for at least 15 years, according to Lorin. They were able to work out a deal where the land would be transferred back to the Crofts so that they could oversee the construction of a park.

In order to get the park built, Lorin approached Cotterell about managing the project. Having retired from running a construction company, Cotterell agreed to bring his experience to the park’s construction.

Once completed, the park will feature a 20 foot long and 20 foot wide shelter with a picnic table, two pickleball courts, a grassy area with shady trees and playground equipment. The playground will have a jungle gym, a swingset, a merry-go-round and some other toys all on a turf surface.

2DPRO Crofts Twilight Park Playground Site Design Option 7 read only 4
A design of the upcoming park’s playground equipment. | Courtesy Gretchen Cotterell

“We want this park to be the nicest park in Shelley,” Cotterell said.

In order to ensure that the park meets official standards, the city has provided oversight during the construction. Once completed, the Crofts will donate the land back to the city and it will be Shelley’s newest park.

So far, the posts for fencing have been encased in concrete, the pickleball courts have been painted and the framing for the shelter has been built.

To recognize the patrons that have donated to the project, there will be a plaque in the park with the names of everyone who donated over $1,000 to it’s construction. The park will also have pavers in it with the names of everyone who donated less than $1,000 towards the project.

Originally, Cotterell was worried they would have to put up a security fence around the land to keep out teenagers and other people causing trouble. Instead, they’ve had young people, ages ranging from five to 18 donate their labor towards completing the park.

“I’ve got grandkids in the neighborhood that’ll enjoy (the park). I’ve encouraged them to come over and help so that when it’s done, they have some ownership,” Cotterell said.

People who live in the area have also been respectful of the project. People walking by have stayed off the land and not interfered with the work.

“It’s a testament of good faith and good neighbors,” Cotterell said.

While people who want to donate to the project can do it on the GoFundMe page, they can also donate through the North End Recreation District. In addition to the $40,000 the district is already putting towards the project, any check that goes to it for the park’s construction will go towards it in full.