Lacombe Legion’s Sunset campground gets playground upgrade

Lacombe County Coun. Keith Stephenson, Lacombe Legion President Kathy Hobbs, County Reeve Paula Law, and Manager of Corporate Services Michael Minchin break ground on a $33,000 playground expansion project at the Sunset Legion Campground on the morning of Friday, April 26, 2019. Ashli Barrett / Lacombe Globe

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The Sunset Legion Campground will soon have a new and improved place for children to play.

The Lacombe Legion, alongside Lacombe County representatives, broke ground Friday morning on a $33,000 playground addition and upgrade.

“It’s an expansion of the existing playground. It’s also bringing some of the more mature playground equipment up to code,” said Legion President Kathy Hobbs.

“We have hundreds of children here. It’s hard to believe but in the summer on any given weekend – long weekends particularly – there are hundreds in here. We had to expand.”

The existing playground, which is geared more for younger children, will be enhanced by the newer addition geared for children of a broader age range. Monkey bars, and accessible swing, and a larger set of slides are among the features to be included.

Equipment was set to arrive Thursday morning, with about 20 volunteers – primarily legion members – keen to begin installation to “bring more outdoor living to the children who frequent” the area, which is accessible to people from all the surrounding areas.

Workers and volunteers prep the site of where the playground expansion at the Sunset Legion Campground will go on the morning of Thurday, April 26, 2019. (Ashli Barrett/Lacombe Globe)

Garage sales, a raffle of one of their campsites and other fundraisers have taken place, but it was one contribution in particular that has made the project a reality.

“We’ve been fundraising for over a year,” said Hobbs.

“The county was our biggest contributor – they made it possible.”

A total of $15,000 was donated to the Lacombe Legion for the playground upgrades by Lacombe County – nearly half of the total project cost.

Reeve Paula Law said supporting and partnering with the Legion on such a project was really important to them.

“The Lacombe Legion has been operating this campground for many, many years. They do such a great job at it and this beautiful place is where a lot of people of all ages can come and enjoy, so we’re very happy to provide support for the new playground,” she said.

“They have done a ton of fundraising. It’s great when you get that support from the community and the groups putting it together.”

The Sunset Legion Campground was originally opened on July 28, 1984 after the County of Lacombe approved a rezoning approval of the area along Gull Lake’s western shore. The provincial government provided $100,000 through their Small Campground Grant Program for the development of the program.

At the time, it included group and day-use areas, as well as 35 overnight camping stalls and room to expand to 65 campsites. Now, there are over 100 campsites in three different areas – the (Bill) Carroll Section, the (Cecil) Proudfoot Section and the Kanngeisser Section, named for Lacombe Legion member and Vietnam War veteran Jack Kanngeisser who was chair of the original campground project committee.

The campground is located about 10 kilometres north of Bentley. To get there from Lacombe, drive west on Hwy 12 and turn north on Hwy 20. Watch for campground signs and turn north once more on Hwy 771 and travel until you reach the campground entrance.

Directions to the Sunset Legion Campground can also be found by using Google Maps.

For more background and information on the campground, visit http://www.lacombelegion.com/campground.html

abarrett@postmedia.com

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