HOA President Bill Suttel, Councilwoman Kathy Tilque, Mayor Brigette Peterson, playground committee members Paul Ross and Galina Vereshchagina

Celebrating a ribbon cutting for the new playground equipment in Val Vista Lakes HOA are, from left, Molly Malone, Playground Equipment Advisory Committee member; HOA President Bill Suttel, Councilwoman Kathy Tilque, Mayor Brigette Peterson, playground committee members Paul Ross and Galina Vereshchagina.

After a somewhat rocky 2020, the Val Vista HOA board is pulling the community together.

And one way it’s doing that is by replacing 19-year-old playground equipment.

Mayor Brigette Peterson and Councilwoman Kathy Tilque attended a ribbon cutting for the new equipment 

The equipment was in bad need of replacement, said Molly Malone, chair of the HOA Playground Equipment Advisory Committee.

“Much of the structure was broken,” she said. “Broken parts were being removed instead of replaced for the last few years,   which caused parents in the community concern.”

Val Vista Lakes is a multigenerational community with about 2,222 households. So with little kids eager to use the equipment, HOA board President Bill Suttell knew something had to be done and first raised the issue in September.

Even before that, homeowners came together in March to join a committee formed by the board, donating hundreds of hours to complete research, perform community surveys and draft various designs.

When Suttell was re-elected in November, he immediately put the committee’s recommendation up for a vote and the newly elected board members passed the measure. The playground vendor was Jeff Hunter of SunState Recreation.

“The playground has helped bring the community together,” said Malone, citing some turmoil within the community that led to the recall of two board members. 

Peterson in her ribbon-cutting speech said that now more than ever, playground equipment is needed to encourage healthy habits in children. 

Key contributors to making that dream come true included Suttell, board Vice President Sharon Maiden, Secretary Joni Lang, Treasurer Doug Keats and members Dustin Snow, Joan Kampmeyer and Greg Orsini. Besides Malone, the committee also includes Paul Ross and members Galina Vereshchagina,   Ashley Nardeccia, Cara Wakefield, Lisa Macal and Caitlin Puckett.