Parents React to Plan Keeping Caper Acres Open

Jul 26, 2013 7:16 PM

There were a lot of smiles on the faces of children and parents at Bidwell Park's Caper Acres Friday.
Many had heard about a generous donation from a Chico business that is keeping the popular children's play area open six days a week instead of three.

"They are cheering when they come into Caper Acres. It is great," Dawn Bontrager said of the new park hours.

Children in Chico will have more time to enjoy the slides, swings and other playground equipment thanks to a generous donation from the owners of the Chico and Lake Almanor ServPro locations.

"He gave us a call and we recognized what a great opportunity it was to partner with him and reopen Caper Acres," Chico Public Works Director Ruben Martinez said.

Robert Rossini, who is also a local contractor, has committed 18 hours of his employees time a week so the city can reopen the park on Tuesdays, Wednesday's and Thursdays after budget cuts forced the closure earlier this month.
The move is being celebrated by the children who use the park as well as their parents.

"I think I said wohoo. I think those were my words. What a wonderful thing, a great company and now we get to be back at Caper Acres,” Bontrager said.
"We are very happy that they opened it back up," Wayne Price said as he pushed his granddaughter on the swings.

Parents say during the closures they tried other parks, but say no playground can match the experience of caper acres.

"We had to find other parks, but she likes this one because there are so many other kids," Price said.
"It is hard to find other parks with this kind of shade or security, because you have the one main gate," Bontrager said.
ServPro has committed to helping out through September.
The city says it will cost about $28,000 a year to keep caper acres open Tuesday through Thursday.
A group of parents have organized a meeting to discuss ways to raise that money.
It is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday at the Faith Lutheran Church on East First Avenue.


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