Fort Laramie residents ‘adopt’ a table in project spurring park improvements
FORT LARAMIE — The town of Fort Laramie has been beautifying its city parks, beginning with refinishing and painting the town’s picnic tables.
The project was spearheaded by Laura Curtsinger, who joined the town council after councilwoman Joyce Evans was elected mayor in July. The town began advertising the opportunity for families and groups to “adopt” a picnic table by refinishing and painting them white on top with blue on the bottom.
Over the weekend, families and groups gathered at the north park and refinished 13 tables. In addition to the refinishing work, groups were allowed to then decorate their table as they saw fit. Several families left their names and painted handprints on their tables. Curtsinger hopes that improving the picnic tables will be the first step in a long beautification effort, and will help the town find grant money for future projects.
“The tables were kind of a way for me to bring awareness to the parks,” she said. “Most people that I talked to (in order) to ask about grants and funding, they would either say, ‘I didn’t know you guys had a park,’ or they would say, ‘Do you really have any kids in town?’”
In a town like Fort Laramie — Curtsinger estimates the child population at about 30, or 10 percent of the town’s total population — funding is vitally important for any of the improvements Curtsinger says she would like to see.
She plans to continue updating the town’s two parks. At the north park, the swing set has been condemned and the metal slide either needs to be repaired or replaced, while the south park slide needs to be removed. The rest of the playground equipment at both parks require nine inches of pea gravel to be up-to-code. She would also like to see better care for the grass at south park, to make it more attractive for camping and gatherings. In addition to the picnic tables, the town added a crosswalk on Otis Street crossing Laramie Avenue, at the Lingle-Fort Laramie bus stop.
Curtsinger has long-term plans — a splash pad in north park, utilizing city property near south park to make room for more activities — but the important thing for Fort Laramie is to keep improving the town.
“As soon as I drive into a town, I look at the parks,” she said, because a healthy town maintains its parks. “We’re having a lot of young families move in, and to keep them here, you need things for the kids to do.”
By enticing them to move to and stay in Fort Laramie, Curtsinger hopes to keep the town growing and improving.