SPEARFISH — Salem Park in Spearfish will soon stay a bit cooler on sunny days, thanks to a Direct Effect Quality of Life grant from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation that will be used to install a sun shade structure over the playground equipment.

The Kenadi Jean Weis Foundation, a nonprofit with the mission “To assist all special needs children and their families achieve fulfilled lives through support, resources, respite care, volunteerism, and advocacy, presented a check for $10,893.69 to the city of Spearfish Monday. 

Randy Deibert, vice president of the foundation, described that after the construction of Salem Park in 2016, the foundation learned about the grant and applied for it.

“With summertime heat upon us, it has been a task of the Kenadi Jean Weis Foundation to install shade protection at Salem Park, so that children and adults can enjoy outdoor fun more safely,” a prepared statement from the Kenadi Jean Weis Foundation states, adding, “Even superheroes need to keep cool, and the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation made this possible.” 

The universally-accessible playground located off of West Quincy Street adjacent to Spearfish Creek, was rebuilt in 2016 with all-inclusive playground equipment constructed with smooth, shock absorbent poured-in-place surfacing to create a play environment above ADA (Americans with Disabilities) minimum requirements, addressing accessibility, age, and developmental appropriateness and sensory-stimulating activities for everyone.

“Many individuals with spinal cord injury and other complex conditions have difficulty regulating temperature,” the prepared statement describes. “The shade structure will provide critical protection from the sun’s rays for all visitors to the playground.”

The Kenadi Jean Weis Foundation was one of 48 organizations awarded a Direct Effect Quality of Life grant funding, out of the over 600 funding requests received, and these grants support a wide variety of programs and services that result in clear, rapid, positive effects for individuals living with paralysis, the statement describes. The grants are federally funded through a cooperative agreement with the Administration for Community Living.

“With the dedicated backing of the community, approval of the City of Spearfish and continued support from the Spearfish Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department, the installation of a GameTime Shade structure will block up to 97 percent of the sun’s harmful UV rays and keep playground temperatures up to 30 degrees cooler, as well as protect the playground equipment,” the statement describes.

Kenadi Jean Weis Foundation representatives presented the check to Mayor Dana Boke and Parks and Recreation Director Perry Mader during the city council meeting and thanked the city for installing the shade structure, which is on order and would be installed once it arrives.

“Thanks for doing the work for this,” Boke said, thanking the foundation.

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