Of the many missteps in the fiasco that has been Kids Kove, the greatest shame is that there are now no firm plans for a successor playground. With this post and this petition, I call on Grand Traverse County to make that plan. Don’t talk vaguely about the “potential” for another playground. Commit to it, in the same location. According to the county’s own website, “children can play endlessly at Kids Kove.” That promise hasn’t been true in almost a year, but it can be renewed. That’s step one.
Second, find the money. The county press release on the closure puts it this way: “If funding were to become available, it is possible that a new play structure will be part of the Civic Center’s future.” Why if? Make it available. I know you want another group of volunteers to do the work for you, but after the treatment the Kids Kove founders and funders got from the county — first failing to keep the playground in good repair, then denied the right even to take their commemorative fence posts, for heaven’s sake — who can claim with a straight face that another batch of donors will step up?Swallow hard, dig deep and find the money in your budget. It’s there, it’s just a question of priorities.
Third, fast-track it. Kids Kove would have marked its twentieth anniversary next May. The press release also talks vaguely about “healing.” Time does help heal wounds, and timing a groundbreaking on a playground to serve the next generation for one year hence would be meaningful, far more so than a study on business development.
To review: Commit. Earmark the funds. Set a groundbreaking date. And build it.
You know they will come.
I will present signatures to the Grand Traverse County Parks and Recreation Commission at their May 21 meeting.