Clovis needs new children’s facilities

By Clyde Davis: Columnist

It was perfectly natural that we should stop in a park in Alamogordo before heading back toward Clovis, given we were traveling with a 7-year-old. Some of us ate at the park; others just played. It was a good chance for my grandson to burn off some energy before the long trip home.

What I found incredible was the playset facility in this roadside community area. There were suspended drums of different heights, for the children to walk on. There was a metal balance beam to walk on. A saucer, hanging in midair, invited one to hang from it, alone or with a balance partner. A handlebar moved suspended from a rail to carry the rider from point A to point B.

Everywhere on the structure we found creative and safe challenges for children, and even for adults, to test coordination, balance, ability to body-focus.

I was reminded of last summer, and our trip to Santa Fe and the children’s museum. There, too, I was captivated by the creative challenges presented in the learning centers. But the one that caught my attention most — precisely because it would be so easy to construct — was the ecology learning center, located outside the main building.

Here one could explore the high desert and arid mountain ecosystem that is so formative of the Santa Fe area. One could learn from firsthand experience about the particulars of living in that type of environment.

The thing that strikes me most about these two experiences, almost a year apart, is my common reaction of “Why can’t we …?” Neither area would be terribly expensive or difficult to construct; neither area would be beyond the potential of Clovis.

Obviously I am not talking about a carbon copy, though there would be no reason not to do that either. What I am talking about is taking the idea and adapting it.

Recreational facilities in our town, especially for children of small size and young age, are sadly lacking. To be honest, there is more to a recreation center than a baseball complex. Not all children enjoy sports, though my grandson happens to, and even so, kids sports become expensive, especially if you have more than one child. Explorational facilities, like those I described, involve both the mind and body.

What is the interest level out there, in doing something about this? I would like to hear from readers about the feasibility of expanding opportunities for kids in Clovis, instead of gradually decreasing them. This means swimming facilities, exploration facilities, learning centers. Have we yet reached a critical mass, where we are willing to take action for our kids?
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