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Lottery pays off for poor kids

Dec 9, 2003, 4:53 am

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Colorado Lottery

Children in one of Denver's oldest and poorest neighborhoods are getting a new playground, thanks in part to Great Outdoors Colorado.

"This project is very near and dear to the hearts of people who live in the Swansea neighborhood," said City Councilwoman Judy Montero, who represents the community. "People have been working on this project since 1995."

The GOCO board announced Monday it will award $200,000 toward the $427,000, two-acre playground and park, which is to be completed in about a year.

The board's total $37.5 million in grants also will provide $1 million for acquisition of 655 acres of pristine open space in a 788-acre tract that lies between Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs.

"This is the largest single addition to the city since the Garden of the Gods was given to us in 1910," said Terry Putman, manager of the Red Rock Canyon Open Space Project.

In total, 59 projects in 30 counties will receive funds generated by the Colorado Lottery, said GOCO spokeswoman Chris Leding. The awards are the first round of grants this fiscal year, with others scheduled in March and June.

Colorado State Parks and the Colorado Division of Wildlife each received $13 million, Leding said.

The parks department will use its award to buy additional land, build trails and construct facilities in new state parks. About $3.6 million of the total grant was earmarked for the new Cheyenne Mountain State Park in El Paso County, which will be the county's first state park.

The DOW grant will be used to acquire habitat, conserve wetlands and fund environmental education.

Other grants will pay to replace ballpark bleachers in Julesburg, plant trees in Jefferson County, renovate a swimming pool in Thornton and construct a skateboard park in Florence.

Since 1994, GOCO has awarded $384 million in lottery funds to more than 2,000 projects to preserve, protect and enhance parks, wildlife, trails, rivers and open space.

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