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Published: Monday, 6/4/2001

Volunteers in Adrian toil so children can play


Dozens of volunteers spent hours over the weekend moving dirt, digging holes, installing posts, and tightening screws for 15,000 square feet of play equipment.

Beginning Thursday, citizens and city employees worked side by side to erect the gleaming red, tan, and forest green play sets. The equipment includes 8-foot-high slides, monkey bars, climbing walls, and three kinds of swings.

Volunteers, who toiled yesterday on a gray, chilly day, said seeing the equipment in place made more than a year of planning, designing, and fund-raising worthwhile.

“It was just a dream, and here it is,” said Mark Gasche, the city's director of parks and recreation. “That's what everyone keeps saying. They can't believe it. Four days ago, this was bare ground, and look at it now.”

Organizers said the project, estimated to cost $250,000, is aimed at restoring the north side park to its long-ago status as a center of community activity. Except for three baseball diamonds, the park had only a few old pieces of play equipment and was largely unused in recent years.

The city is spending about $140,000 toward the playground, with the remainder coming from donors, including the Adrian Kiwanis Club, which gave $50,000. Adrian-area businesses such as Floyd's Rigging, CPR Remodeling, and Slusarski Excavating donated workers and equipment.

Yesterday, about two dozen volunteers finished installing the coated-metal and molded plastic play sets.

Brian Hill stood on a ladder as he used an electric drill to screw holding brackets for an overhead set of monkey bars. He said he's looking forward to bringing his 4-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter to the park.

“They'll have a riot, I'm sure,” he said. “I don't think they've seen one this big yet.”

Mr. Gasche said the playground won't be dedicated until late August, but children should be able to use the equipment by midweek. Assuming the weather holds, workers will pour concrete into post holes this morning, then cover the entire playground surface with filter fabric.

A 3-to-4-inch layer of pea stone will follow, covered with more filter fabric, then topped by a foot-deep layer of wood chips. Once that's done, the playground will be ready to use, though additional work is planned this summer.

A 4-foot-high cedar fence will be installed around the playground, and flower beds and other landscaping will be added around the perimeter.

Mr. Gasche said the city has other plans for sprucing up the park, including a walking path and new picnic shelters.

“This is really the focal point of the park,” he said, looking over the playground. “This is the centerpiece.”

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