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Changes To Watertower And Quillings Parks Mean New ADA Compliant Equipment And Renovated Softball Fields


Changes are in full swing at Watertower and Quillings Parks, bringing in new and improved equipment to both. Grants have been received to upgrade equipment and meet ADA standards.

Park Superintendent Stephanie Ridl teamed up with Amy Metz to submit a grant through Richland County Parks and Recreation to cover the cost of new bleachers, dugout benches, and a new fence at Watertower Park. The previous fence had been a maintenance issue for the city; the new fence will be pushed back sixteen feet which will allow more room for mowing, adequate space for growing trees, and eventually an ADA compliant sidewalk. Further funding was given through Public Works at the prompting of Public Works Director Jeff Hintz which will provide new dugouts and make the renovations more complete. The Girls Slow Pitch Softball League, who regularly use the fields, are donating new bases.

“I understand the decision to add in the new dug outs as the timing makes sense. It’s practical to do it now while the new fence is being installed.” said City Parks Superintendent Stephanie Ridl of the expanded project. “It’s been a very busy spring for the City Crew and I am very grateful for all their help.”

Busy not only because of the work to be done at Watertower Park, but because of the updates to Quillings Park as well. One of Ridl’s goals is to bring all the parks to ADA standards and Quillings Park is another step in that direction. Ridl applied for a Land Water Conservation Fund Grant through the Montana State Parks and received funds to install an agility based gym appropriate for ages two to twelve, new swings, two spring ride surfers, and the Matterhorn, which is a popular climbing apparatus. Some equipment will remain the same including a small play gym, the stagecoach, and spring ride horses. ADA compliant sidewalks, ground cover, and ramps will make the playground friendly to strollers and wheelchairs rather than the pea gravel which was previously in place and benches will give parents and caregivers a place to sit around the playground.

Both parks are considered community parks meaning people from other parts of town are likely to visit because they offer something that benefits the community, such as the soccer field and ice skating rink at Quillings Park and the softball fields at Watertower. Community parks are a great place to start upgrading as there are more grant options available.

“A lot of things are made possible in our park system through donations as well,” said Ridl, noting that donations have been made in memory of loved ones.

Whether it is donating a tree or money for picnic tables, benches, or to a specific project, Ridl is diligent in making sure those who are donating are also involved in making decisions about how and where they want their contribution implemented.

“It means something to people to be involved in deciding how their donation will be used,” she commented.

A donation of time is always welcome too as man power is limited to the city crew who have already had a busy spring.

Fences are being put in this week at Watertower Park and Ridl is hopeful they will be done by the end of the month. At Quilling Park, footings are being set and equipment is getting put together; changes should be complete sometime in June.

Ridl hopes to receive funds through future grants to renovate the bathrooms and warming house at Quilling Park and the bathrooms and concessions stand at Watertower Park. Currently the bathrooms can’t be accessed without leaving the other respective areas open; the goal being to allow the public access to the bathrooms during the season while still securing the warming house and concessions stand.

Anyone who would like to volunteer their time and energy or anyone who would like to make a donation to upgrading the parks in Sidney, please contact Stephanie Ridl at Sidney City Hall, 406-433-2809 or at 406-480-9263.


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