Lakewood Health System recently received grants in the amount of $27,300 to support the ‘Safe Walk to Dino Park’ Project, a collaborative with the City of Staples to install sidewalks in and around the Lakewood community park and create an artistic and accessible mid-block crosswalk on Prairie Avenue NE.
Currently, the crosswalk and community park does not accommodate people using wheelchairs and other assistive devices. “The care center is just a crosswalk away from the Lakewood community park, but it is a challenge for our senior residents to get there without an accessible crosswalk and paved walkways,” Kathy Dobson, Vice President of Senior Services. “We are grateful for the grant support and excited to see our residents enjoy the park again.”
The generosity from four funding organizations will be used in two phases from May through July. In phase one, the City of Staples – Public Works will move the current crosswalk to the west and construct a highly visible and accessible mid-block crossing with curb ramps and pedestrian signs. More than 350 feet of sidewalks will also be installed.
A $12,500 grant from State Farm Good Neighbor Citizenship® Company Grants will fund two pedestrian activated solar-powered crosswalk signals and construct a new crosswalk and 160 feet of sidewalks.
A $5,000 grant from MDU Resources Foundation – Knife River will help to construct nearly 200 feet of walking paths and a concrete landing pad in the park.
Phase two will add public art and bright colors to the new crosswalk. Lakewood has teamed up with multi-disciplinary visual artist, Heidi Jeub, and graphic designer, Peg Churchwell, to gather ideas and drawings from young children, care center residents and the community to help inspire the crosswalk artwork design. “By adding artistic elements to public works projects, it can transform a plain walkway into a masterpiece that not only tells a story about our community, but it helps to make crossing a roadway safer and gets more people out and active in our community,” Alicia Bauman, Lakewood’s Community Health Director.
The Five Wings Art Council granted a $7,500 award to Lakewood as part of their Arts Based Community Development (ABCD) Grants to hire artists to lead and engage the community in a creative placemaking process to help design and paint artwork on the new crosswalk. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Five Wings Art Council thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.
Once a design is finalized, a $2,300 grant from the Sourcewell Community Match Fund will help Lakewood purchase art supplies such as roadway paint, brushes, and tape and provide volunteer incentives to help with the design and installation.
On Thursdays, June 17 and 24, 2021, the artists will be hosting a ‘Safe Walk to Dino Park’ pop-up event at the Staples Area Farmers Market in Lakewood’s Staples clinic parking lot from 2-5:30 p.m. They are asking the community to stop by and participate in an art activity to give them ideas for the crosswalk design. Each participant will receive a $2 voucher for the farmers market for taking part in the coloring activity and will be asked to volunteer to help paint the crosswalk later this summer.
Watch Lakewood’s Facebook page for project updates.