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Taking Expert Advice in Olathe

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A group of Olathe residents solicited advice from kids before giving a donation to the town for playground improvements. Photos by Lizeth Ramirez


Last fall, first graders at Olathe Elementary School were asked what improvements they’d make to their Western Slope town of 1,800. Their attention naturally turned to the Olathe Town Park, home to a playground, picnic tables and a pavilion for barbequing. They had plenty of ideas, thank you for asking: Add better playground equipment. Put in a drinking fountain. And even “tie up the bad guys and pin them to a bush.”

Area grown-ups got to work. And on May 17, the first graders presented a check to the mayor for Town Park improvements for $7,570. The local parks department was there to present its plan for a water fountain that is accessible to people with disabilities, and includes a water bottle filling station. (No word yet on proposals to tie up bad guys.)

The first graders’ project was facilitated by a group of town residents calling themselves Making Olathe Better, who give out donations like this one and are working toward a more comprehensive plan to improve health and promote equality in the town. The Colorado Trust is proud to support their work as part of an initial phase of our Community Partnerships effort, which asks Coloradans of all ages to come up with and carry out plans for achieving health equity locally.

Learn about the health equity issues affecting Coloradans at Collective Colorado, a publication of The Colorado Trust.