Downtown Missoula’s famous Dragon Hollow wooden playground is trying to raise at least $180,000 for repairs. A Carousel for Missoula Executive Director Theresa Cox explains.

"We would replace a lot of the wood with composite materials to make maintenance easier, replace some of the features out there that have been worn down over the last 18 years," Cox said. "Wood playgrounds typically have a lifespan of 20 years, so we're trying to get a little bit ahead of the game. Then, as we were thinking of plans we thought it would be really nice to do some more inclusive stuff out there, so kids with disabilities could play there as well."

Cox says they are hoping to expand the playground another 50 feet to the west, to provide room for the inclusive playground equipment. The cost of that expansion isn’t finalized, but Cox says they are expecting it to cost an additional $70,000. But before that, there’s a surprising number of hoops to jump through.

"We need permission from lots of agencies, starting with the Park's Board, which I will go and talk to this afternoon, [July17], the City Council, the Army Corps of Engineers, State Parks, National Parks, and FEMA: those are the hoops we have to jump through before we are able to do that," Cox said. "The thing with the Army Corps of Engineers and, probably FEMA, is that we're on the levy for the Clark For River, so there are a lot of rules you have to follow."

The goal is to begin maintenance on Dragon Hollow next May. Cox says she has already written requests for a few grants for the project and will be writing at least 23 others soon. The total cost of the project will be near a quarter million dollars if approved and much of the money will come in the form of donations.

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