Ennis students give input on proposed park, playground

In a year’s time there will be a new community playground and park designed and built in Ennis for children and adults to enjoy.

Spearheaded by Josh and Becky Vujovich, the park plan came about through the development of the North 40. Becky Vujovich said they agreed to develop one section of land into a children’s playground that she said she hopes resembles Dinosaur Park in Bozeman in terms of the design process and community involvement.

The park’s location is planned for the western side of Otis Avenue behind Madison Foods. Vujovich said there is a dead end road there now as well as some sidewalk.

Helping guide the design process are architecture students from Montana State University. The college students recently visited Kara Maloney’s second grade classroom to get information from her students on what they wanted in a playground.

“I want swings and a slide, and a water slide,” second grade student Ruby Blazer said. “My classmates really wanted a merry-go-round. I like to rock climb a lot too.”

This process, which was hands-on and straight to the source of the main park users, excited not only the Ennis students but also the college kids. The nine-member MSU team said this project emphasizes community collaboration by bringing together outside participants such as their School of Architecture in a multi-beneficiary relationship. Blazer said the Ennis students were asked a lot of questions and that she and her classmates drew a lot of pictures.

“We are excited to be given the opportunity to utilize our skill set in real practice,” MSU student Kaitlyn Kravitz said. “We chose to meet with local elementary students not only to get them excited about the project, but also to gain their insight. It was a fun and light hearted way to approach the design process.”

The MSU students will present their findings at the Nov. 14 Ennis Town Council meeting and Vujovich said she anticipates a final design in December. Funding for the project will come partially from the Vujovichs, but they anticipate some fundraising efforts as well.

“I want to start with an Arbor Day celebration and involve the school,” she said. “Construction should start then or shortly after.”

To keep things local and related to Ennis, the MSU team said they plan on using locally reclaimed materials as well as local tradesmen, contractors and styles. By utilizing these resources they said they hope to create a project that is unique to Ennis that supports the local environment and Ennis’ economic and cultural qualities.

Blazer, who is 7, said she likes the parks and playgrounds Ennis has now.

“Another one would be pretty cool,” she said. “We will build it all together at the park.”

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