Cherokee Nation Celebrates First Playground Built in Ketchum

Children play at the new Grand Playscape Park, the first playground built in Ketchum, Oklahoma.

Children play at the new Grand Playscape Park, the first playground built in Ketchum, Oklahoma.

Published May 16, 2016

KETCHUM, OKLAHOMA –Cherokee Nation leaders celebrated the opening of a new playground on Saturday, the first to be built in the community of Ketchum in Craig County.

The Cherokee Nation donated $57,273 to the Native American Association of Ketchum for the park, named Grand Playscape Park. NAAK leased land to the city of Ketchum.

The company Playcore and Cunningham Recreation installed playground equipment meant to bring a nature environment that will be used as a national demonstration site.

“Grand Playscape Park is an example of the kind of positive investment that can happen when organizations join forces to strengthen their communities,” Cherokee Nation Tribal Council Deputy Speaker Victoria Vazquez said. “I’m happy that the Cherokee Nation could partner with the Native American Association of Ketchum on such a worthwhile project. The opening of the park was great in several ways, from the beautiful weather to the kids laughing and running while playing on all the new equipment. It all made for a great day.”

On Saturday, Cherokee Nation Chief of Staff and state representative Chuck Hoskin, of Vinita, Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr, of Vinita, and Vazquez of Welch, joined the Native American Association of Ketchum and other dignitaries for the park’s grand opening.

Work on the park started in the summer of 2015.

“I want to thank the Cherokee Nation and administration for enabling this park and playground to happen,” said Jerry Taylor, president of the Native American Association of Ketchum. “Before this there was no park for the children to play in Ketchum. With the help of the Cherokee Nation, its administration, the Community and Cultural Outreach department, Cunningham Recreation and a lot of local citizens who volunteered their time and money, we were able to create a place for the families to congregate and children to play and have a park to be proud of for the community.”

The playground features a sound garden with instruments to play music, slides, swing set, climbers and outdoor library shaped as a boat for students to read.

“We are so excited to have our first park in Ketchum,” NAAK board member Lisa Evans said. “It is so thrilling to see the children running, climbing, and exploring in the park. The park has given our community a place for families to gather, and enjoy the outdoors. The park would not be possible without Cherokee Nation and the collaboration of the citizens of Ketchum.

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