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Storm shelter gets a splash of color, care of local youth

Laura Dunlavy, right, a staff member with Willmar Community Education, and Ivonne Amaya Calleros, 11, paint the block walls Thursday at the storm shelter at Regency Estates West in Willmar. Tribune photo by Tom Cherveny

WILLMAR -- There's nothing like a change of scenery to work wonders, but it can take lots of work.

A dozen or more youth have been putting in the hours at Regency Estates West manufactured home park in Willmar.

Thanks to sponsorship and help from the Willmar Community Education Department, Pact 4 and Home Depot, the youth have spent the last few weeks working to improve the looks of the park's storm shelter building.

The gray paint on its cement block walls was chipped, pock-marked and marred by graffiti when the youth, ages 5 to 12, went to work with putty knives. Three workers with the community education department and three with Home Depot also assisted.

Along with improving the looks of the building, the project was designed to help the youth develop a sense of ownership, according to Michelle Gregersen, who led the project.

The young workers put the first coat of bright blue paint on the structure on Thursday. It is hoped that a sea scene with sharks and tropical fish will be added.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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