Imagination Kingdom coordinators Gloria Gunn, left, and Bonnie Grisier, with grandson Carter Nisely, have received community support to build the playground on the south side of Reighard Park.
the blade/lori king
WAUSEON -- When Wauseon resident Bonnie Grisier took her grandchildren to the Imagination Station playground in Bryan in neighboring Williams County, she was immediately inspired to try to bring a similar project to her community.
"I started this because I've got nine grandchildren and I take them to different parks. I was instantly enticed. I walked up the sidewalk and I was so amazed by their communitywide project," she said.
So Ms. Grisier decided to bring the idea back home -- to Wauseon's Reighard Park in Fulton County.
"I just started getting committee members," she said. "It's just been an amazing year."
Called Imagination Kingdom, the playground will include several features, including train pieces, a red fire truck, a village with a church, and a combine. Aspects of the new playground, tailored to Wauseon, have been designed with input from local children.
It will cost $250,000 to build the up-to-date play space, Ms. Grisier said, and "probably that's where we will end up."
She said the project has been supported by businesses and individuals who have purchased components, granite pavers, and sponsorship plaques for the site. The project is to receive a check from Ronald McDonald Charities Tuesday.
Another important aspect of the project is that it will be built entirely by volunteers. Susan Mack, volunteer coordinator for the project, said construction is to begin Oct. 10 and extend until Oct. 14.
"We're going to need 2,000 people to build it. All the construction is going to be donated," she said.
A three-foot fence will enclose the entire playground, with every picket engraved with the names of all children in kindergarten through fifth grade from Wauseon Elementary School.
Ms. Mack said children can volunteer to work on the construction with their parents. Students ages 10 to 14 can be on the site, while ages 3-9 will also be able to help, not on the site, but with artistic projects that will be displayed later on the site.
Ms. Grisier said the playground equipment is "all recycled plastic and that makes it better than the wood, so that they don't get splinters.
"The … components are handicapped accessible, so it includes all kids. The wood chips, too, are the type that doesn't give splinters."
Although financial support has been great, both Ms. Mack and Ms. Grisier said the project is desperately in need of other types of support.
"We need volunteers," Ms. Mack said.
More information is available at wauseonplayground.com.
Potential volunteers may contact Ms. Mack at 419-335-8643.