New ways to play soon available in several Willmar parks

WILLMAR -- The children of Willmar will soon have brand new places to play, as the city has begun the installation of seven new playground sets at six parks across the city."We chose a park in each section of town," said Steve Brisendine, Willmar...

New playground set at Minnegasco Park
New playground equipment being installed at Minnegasco Park is for children ages 2-5. Work began last week and is expected to be complete before Memorial Day weekend there and at two other parks in Willmar. Installation is scheduled to begin in July at three more Willmar parks. (SHELBY LINDRUD | TRIBUNE)

WILLMAR - The children of Willmar will soon have brand new places to play, as the city has begun the installation of seven new playground sets at six parks across the city.
“We chose a park in each section of town,” said Steve Brisendine, Willmar Community Education and Recreation director.
The installation of the new equipment at Ramblewood, Minnegasco and Cardinal Parks began last week and should be completed in time for the long Memorial Day weekend, Brisendine said.
Also getting new playgrounds are Gesch, Hedin and Collegeview Parks. Work on those parks should begin in July.
The units were purchased from Minnesota Wisconsin Playground of Golden Valley. The purchase price, including installation costs, came to $142,462, which included a grant from the company.
“We ended up getting most units half price,” Brisendine said.
Funds for the playgrounds came from the 2015 capital improvement budget.
The new equipment came after an inspection report last year rated
19 percent of the city’s 230 playground units as safety hazards. All units which were found to not meet current safety standards were removed and a playground committee was formed to begin planning for the purchase and installation of new units.
The group decided it made more sense to purchase playground units, with multiple play surfaces, instead of separate pieces such as swing sets or monkey bars.
“We think the units end up a cheaper alternative. We like the totality of the units,” Brisendine said.
Children seem to enjoy playing on the units more as well. There are more ways to play on the units than on single pieces.
“They’re more popular for the kids to use,” Brisendine said.
The decision was made to install two new units at Ramblewood and one each at the remaining five parks.
“We matched up the needs of the parks,” Brisendine said.
One set at Ramblewood is rated for children ages 2-5 and the second is for ages 5-12.
Hedin, Gesch, Cardinal and Collegeview will get units rated for ages 2-12.
Minnegasco Park, which has a fairly new playground unit already installed for older children, has gotten a new unit for the youngest, ages 2-5.
“There are a number of child care centers in the area,” Brisendine said, so it made sense to install equipment the younger children would be able to enjoy.
The new units include slides, climbing surfaces and other fun ways to play.
Minnesota Wisconsin Playground is doing most of the installation work, while city public works staff will complete the excavation work and put down the safety ground cover. The city purchased a flex-fiber material to put under the new playgrounds.
Brisendine said it is the city’s plan to make updates to most of the parks’ playground equipment in the coming years, though perhaps not to the extent of this year.
“We have to do this type of work, one to three parks on an annual basis, that will get us caught up. There will be updates in all the parks,” Brisendine said.

Willmar park locations where new equipment will be installed
Cardinal Park: Located on the southwest edge of Willmar’s residential area at the intersection of 25th Street and 20th Avenue.
Collegeview Park: Located in northwest Willmar at 13th Avenue and 20th Street.
Gesch Park: Located in southeast Willmar off Olena Avenue and 12th Street, west of the Kandiyohi County Area Family YMCA.
Hedin Park: Located in northeast Willmar near the intersection of Kandiyohi County Road 41 and 15th Avenue Northwest.
Minnegasco Park: Located in southwest Willmar at Trott Avenue and 16th Street.
Ramblewood Park: Located in southwest Willmar at Ramblewood Avenue and 13th Street, in the vicinity of the Community Christian School on 19th Avenue Southwest.

Related Topics: FAMILY
Shelby Lindrud is a reporter with the West Central Tribune of Willmar. Her focus areas are arts and entertainment, agriculture, features writing and the Kandiyohi County Board.

She can be reached via email or direct 320-214-4373.

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