Philanthropy and whimsy combine for the Playhouse Project in Avon

Crews from Shaeffer Hyde lift a wall as they work on their Playhouse Project structure. The company is one of eight local builders participating in the exhibit, which will bring a small village of playhouses to Avon's Nottingham Park from June 14 through July 21. Members of the public will vote on their favorite houses and all the structures will be auctioned off to benefit charity.
Special to the Daily

At a glance ...

Here are the builders for the Playhouse Project:

• Shaeffer-Hyde Construction

• Precision Construction West Inc.

• SRE Building Associates

• Coleman Custom Homes

• Custom Home Construction

• Habitat for Humanity Vail

• High Country Builders

• Hoeft Builders West

This story has been corrected regarding the name of Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley.

AVON — For those who like their philanthropy served with a side of fun, this summer the town of Avon will host an event that’s creative, whimsical and promises to be a hit for all ages.

Here’s the official title — the Vail Board of Realtors presents the town of Avon’s Playhouse Project. The project is just what it says — eight local construction companies have taken on the challenge of building custom playhouses that will be set up in the former playground area of Nottingham Park. The display will open to the public on Thursday, June 14, and kids and parents can check out the various playhouses during a five-week exhibit. The public will have the chance to vote for their favorite playhouse, and at the end of the exhibit, the structures will be sold and the proceeds will go to St. Jude’s Research Hospital.

What’s not to love about this entire plan?

“We are so excited that the Playhouse Project will take place in Avon this summer,” said Avon Mayor Jennie Fancher. “This unique public art concept, that will be showcased in Harry A. Nottingham Park, will surely be enjoyed by residents and visitors who take the time to tour the exhibit. We appreciate the work of the local construction companies and architects that are assisting in making this project come to life.”

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Creative license

The Playhouse Project is the brainchild of Colorado Mountain News Media Events Manager Holli Snyder.

“It amazes me that these eight companies are taking the time to do this because we all know how busy they are right now,” Snyder said.

Snyder said that not only have the firms stepped up for the challenge, they are approaching it with gusto. They were each given $1,000 to help pay for supplies and then set loose to design and build a custom creation.

“The beauty of this is everyone is going all out. They all want to have the best playhouse,” she said. “They have creative license to do whatever they want to with these, and I can’t wait to see what people come up with.”

Alex Coleman, of Coleman Custom Homes in Edwards, is one of the Playhouse Project builders. He said the project presents a great way to give back to the community where he grew up and where he is raising his 6-year-old son.

Coleman worked with an architect friend to develop his playhouse plan.

“We have a good design and the local subcontractors I work with are excited to help out,” Coleman said.

He also has a market research edge in the contest: “My son is super excited about this,” Coleman said.

So far, Coleman said he has gathered his playhouse materials. He plans to launch actual construction this weekend.

The folks over at Shaffer Hyde are keeping their playhouse design under wraps, but they did share a few photos of crews helping lift the building walls.

Helping hands

Along with the builders who are participating in the playhouse construction, Snyder said local firm White Horse Moving Solutions is a vital partner for the project. The company has agreed to transport the playhouses from the sites where they are being built to Nottingham Park. And when the exhibit is over, White Horse Moving Solutions will deliver the playhouses to their new homes.

“That is a really big job and we couldn’t do this without their help,” Snyder said.

Snyder is planning both an online and live auction for the finished playhouses. Online bidders will have the option of a buy-it-now price, while the auction will feature a competitive bidding environment.

“Our goal is to make no less than $50,000,” Snyder said.

Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley is one of the participating builders, and money raised from its playhouse auction will go toward the organization’s efforts to build houses for local families. The remainder of the playhouse auction money will be going to St. Jude’s Research Hospital, which is also getting in on the project fun. The hospital sent over some commemorative coins, which will be incorporated into the playhouse designs. When kids check out the completed playhouses, part of the fun will be to find where those coins have been placed.

The official debut of the Playhouse Project is planned for 6 p.m. Thursday, June 14. The builders and exhibit sponsors will be on hand at Nottingham Park, and the playhouses will remain in place, where security cameras will ensure no one damages the structures, until July 21.

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