Lions Park in West Concord starting to take shape
It’s been difficult because of the weather, but Lions Park in West Concord is starting to get its new look.
“It’s been coming along good,” West Concord Maintenance Director Keith Clammer said last week, at least until the rains came. “We’ve gotten a lot done when it’s dry.”
After girls from Brownie Troop 43032 and Junior Troop 44701 suggested to the City Council last year that playgrounds needed to be more accessible for all children, the effort to upgrade Lions Park began.
The West Concord Cardinal Club took on the job of preparing a plan for a completely upgraded Lions Park and numerous groups and residents began a fundraising effort.
New equipment was ordered, existing equipment removed with some of it being refurbished for reinstallation. The old pavilion was torn down with the idea a new one would be constructed. There were also plans to turn the old bathrooms into ones that are unisex and handicapped accessible.
As of last week, the main playground structure had been delivered and installed by Rainbow Systems of Rochester. The new structure features slides and areas for climbing and is twice as large as the old one. Work was started on the new pavilion and the basic structure was completed although finishing touches such as electrical work still needed to be done. When finished the pavilion will be equipped with handicapped-accessible picnic tables.
Work was progressing on the restrooms and some cement for additional equipment had been poured although more remained to be done. Refurbished swings also still remain to be installed.
One hundred sixty yards of mulch had also been moved into the park, Clammer said.
If the weather holds, Clammer said, the merry-go-round, bouncers and ellipticals can go in this week.
The ellipticals are an item that will be unique to area parks as they are designed for adults. The three pieces of exercise equipment, he said, will hopefully provide an incentive for adults, too, to get more active and use the park.
The entire park will meet the Americans With Disability Act guidelines for being handicapped accessible.
Clammer explained the playground area will be covered with engineered wood fiber which gives a uniform size to the chips. Wheelchairs, he said, will be able to roll right onto the playground.
Another plus to the park, Clammer said, is that it has been designed to make it “maintenance friendly.”
A number of local businesses have been involved in the upgrade of the park.
The equipment that was retained from the park was refurbished locally at several local businesses, including West Concord Collision and Restoration and Minnesota Hot Rod Hardware. Stur-D Equipment is building the picnic tables. Lumber for the pavilion is from Flicek Lumber and Dostal Electric of Dodge Center will do the electrical work. The playground structure was purchased from Rainbow Play in Rochester.
Finances have been a community affair also.
The entire project is estimated to cost about $85,000, Clammer said, The city contributed some funding and citizens and businesses have also contributed. Events at December’s Christmas in West Concord also raised funds for the project and Sydney Naze, one of the Girl Scouts who wrote the original letter to the council, has organized several other fundraising events.
Current plans call for the official ribbon cutting ceremony to be held at the park, which is next to the Methodist Church, at 6:30 p.m. Friday, July 26, the first night of Survival Days.