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Hammock villages: Fairmont parks get upgrade

Fairmont High School Junior Janessa Nelson demonstrates how to hang a hammock on the the new poles installed in Cedar Creek Park in Fairmont. The hammock village served as Nelson’s Girl Scout Gold award project, along with a sister site in Sylvania Park.

While the last vestiges of warm weather are slipping away, that doesn’t mean it will be gone forever. With that in mind, one might consider trying out one of the two new “hammock villages” that have popped up in Fairmont’s own Cedar Creek and Sylvania Parks.

For her Girl Scout Gold Award, High School Junior Janessa Nelson decided to put together the villages after getting the idea from her sister. The villages consist of several wooden poles spaced out around a center pole. With the aid of large eye hooks, several hammocks can be put up at once.

Nelson shares how she came up with the idea and some of the work that went into the projects.

“This one [at Cedar Creek Park] is the first one I built,” she said. “The one at Sylvania Park is the second one.

“I got the idea from my sister,” she continued. “We hammock a lot when we camp, and so we’re always bringing hammock stands because there’s no place to tie them up. So we found these on Pinterest, and we thought it was really cool.”

When asked about the work behind it, Nelson states it took more effort than she planned.

“It didn’t take as much time as I thought it would, but it did take a lot of lifting. You can’t tell, but the poles themselves are 12 feet long. The holes were five feet deep, and we had to mix all the cement and plant the grass seed and all of that.

“It was fun, a lot of people came out and helped, which was great. We had a lot of help, and with the one at Sylvania we had a confirmation group from Grace Lutheran Church came. We also had some Girl Scout people come out, some members of the community came out, and we had some family and friends.

“A lot of help also came from the city, they dug the holes with their auger and Boekett Building Supply also donated everything except the hooks and some of the cement.”

Nelson also shared that the physical work was only one part of the equation, stating that there were many presentations to many groups in order te secure funding and materials.

“I filled out a couple of grant applications, and I presented to the Schmeeckle Foundation. They gave me $500 which was all I could ask for. Then thanks to Fleet and Farm we have a couple of hammocks that we were able to buy at cost and we donated them to CER and they will have them available for check-out.”

Nelson states that the check-out system will be a help because hammocks by themselves can be expensive.

“They can be about $60 for just the hammocks, and then you have to buy the straps. So it was a huge help from Fleet and Farm that we were able to get them at about half the price they usually would be. Another community member donated enough for building one of them [the villages], which was just great.”

Nelson states that while she enjoyed the project, there are no more villages in the works for the moment.

“We have talked about it and it might be a possibility but now that school’s started and it’s getting cold out, we don’t really have the time,” she said. “Right now we’re just going to see with these two, but if there is a next one it might not be in Fairmont. “So we’ve talked about the possibility of doing one at a County Park at some point.”

For kids who might be interested, a CER class entitled “Camp with a Hammock,” will be held from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on October 12 at Cedar Creek Park in Fairmont. The class is for students in grades six through eight.

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