Playing in the dirt: Ground breaks on inclusive playground at Woodridge Park
Play didn't stop for the Woodridge Park Inclusive Playground groundbreaking ceremony.
Youngsters swung from the monkey bars and ran the stairs of the playground equipment as Mayor Myron Bailey thanked the 108 groups and individuals who donated to make the playground a reality.
"This is critical to assuring play is available to every individual," he said on May 10. "It will be a gathering spot for smiles, laughs and memories created every day."
Recreation Director Molly Pietruszewski said the current play equipment will be removed and installed in other city parks next week, and for the next seven weeks they will be moving dirt at the site.
Installation of the new equipment will begin in mid- to late-June.
For three years, inclusive playground task force members Cassie Carlin, Alene Colvin, Samanthia Crabtree, Pat Forsythe, Shannon Hagness, Barb Mueller, Cameron Schwichtenberg and Dawn Rankin have stood by Pietruszewski to make the playground a reality.
The Lions Club International Foundation awarded a $100,000 donation for the playground this week, completing fundraising for the project.
The playground will be fully built this summer, with all parts included in the design. Without this donation, some of the pieces would have to be left out until additional funding was available.
With the donation effectively over-funds the playground, which Pietruszewski said could be used in a number of ways.
With large construction projects "there's always some unknowns," she said, so the money will be used to help if something comes up. Otherwise, Pietruszewski said, it could be used to fund extra additions to Woodridge Park such as additional play equipment, or even the start of a splash pad fund.
She said the goal is to have the park built and open by September.
The park will be the largest inclusive playground in Minnesota.