In 2012, the Cheyenne River Housing Authority was awarded a TECA grant from the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe to fund a long wished-for project – playgrounds for the children of the communities throughout the reservation, aka “Project Play”. The play areas would be safe, fun, durable, affordable, and located centrally in their local communities. They would be designed to combat youth diabetes and reduce childhood obesity rates as well as enhancing the mental and emotional growth of the children of the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation.
Tallgrass Landscape Architecture was honored to be selected to design the playgrounds and assist Project Play in involving each community and their children in the design process. We worked closely with the project coordinator to develop community surveys - including a survey that was completed by nearly 400 children across the reservation! In this way, the communities and their children selected the types of play experiences that they would like best. We designed four different playground design types for the CRHA that allowed each community or neighborhood to select the playground style, colors and amenities that best suit the needs of their children and have an opportunity to reflect something of cultural significance of each community – both through color and playground signage. The signs, unique to each community tell special community stories, talk about tribal members of significance, or teach about an animal of special significance that is indigenous to the region. Project Play is now complete with 24 playgrounds in 17 remote communities across the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation providing play opportunities where few existed before.