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Playground construction needs more volunteers

WILLMAR -- Time is ticking away as the Willmar Destination Playground moves out of the fundraising and planning stages and into actual construction. "We are 27 days out," said Rachel Skretvedt, co-chair of the playground steering committee, on We...

Shelby Lindrud / TribuneWork has already begun at the Willmar Destination Playground site at Robbins Island in Willmar. The steering committee is asking volunteers to sign up as soon as possible to help build the playground May 16-25.
Shelby Lindrud / Tribune Work has already begun at the Willmar Destination Playground site at Robbins Island in Willmar. The steering committee is asking volunteers to sign up as soon as possible to help build the playground May 16-25.

WILLMAR - Time is ticking away as the Willmar Destination Playground moves out of the fundraising and planning stages and into actual construction.

"We are 27 days out," said Rachel Skretvedt, co-chair of the playground steering committee, on Wednesday.

The community will help build the playground May 16-25 and hundreds of volunteers, of all skill levels and talents, are needed. There are 3,700 time slots over the nine days and so far only 60 percent of the needed workforce has signed up. The playground needs both volunteers who are skilled and those who maybe are not as comfortable around power tools.

"There are so many jobs, we can put you to work. If you can put a washer and a nut on a bolt, we can use you," said Kathy Schwantes, co-chair of the steering committee.

The playground project is a private-public partnership between the steering committee, the city of Willmar and playground designer Leathers & Associates. The 19,000-square-foot playground is estimated to cost about $900,000, all paid by private donations. The city owns the land and will also own the playground itself.

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The steering committee is urging those who want to volunteer for the building days to complete the sign-up as soon as possible to allow the committee to start planning for food and other items that will be needed.

"People really need to sign up today, to help us out," Skretvedt said.

There are opportunities for people of nearly all ages. Children from age 10 to 13 can work with their parents, and teenagers between 14 and 17 will work in teenage groups. There will be child care available on site for children who are toilet trained through age 9.

There are more than just construction jobs available. The playground also needs painters and artists to help create the murals and paint some of the play pieces.

"If you can hold a paint brush or paint by number, we need them in the art tent. And the art tent will be the funnest place to work," said Mitra Engan, co-captain of design and special features.

There is also a need for volunteers to work at the food tent, in child care, as runners, at the volunteer sign-up table, at the tool trailer and in the materials tent.

Those wanting to work at the tool trailer or materials tent do need to have knowledge about a vast array of tools and construction materials, so those areas of the build can run smoothly and efficiently, Schwantes said.

Those wanting to volunteer can sign up at www.signupgenius.com/go/5080c48adac2da7f94-willmar . From there, people can choose the day and time they want to help. In the comments section, the volunteers can list what kind of job they would be interested in doing, or if they need assistance in some way, like interpretation services.

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"So people can do the stuff they are excited about," Engan said.

Those interested in volunteering who don't have access to a computer can call the Willmar Area Community Foundation at 320-235-4380 and staff will assist them in signing up.

There are even theme days planned to add to the fun of the build, including Date Night on May 19, Singles Day on May 20 and Newcomers Day on May 21.

 

 

Tools are also needed, especially impact drills, drills, levels, circular saws, wheelbarrows, work lights, shovels, squares and awnings. More information on tool donations can be found at www.signupgenius.com/go/5080c48adac2da7f94-tool.

"We have 90 percent of the tools we need, but we have some high priorities," Schwantes said.

The playground is to be ready for the city to enjoy the weekend of Willmar Fests, after all the construction and post-construction work is completed. A dedication ceremony is scheduled for June 23 in the morning and the grand opening, which will include a ribbon cutting by kids, will take place at 1 p.m. June 24, following the parade.

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"We're not only building a playground, we're building a community," Skretvedt said.

"And the best part is we'll have a playground at the end," added Sara Carlson, fundraising captain.

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 slindrud@wctrib.com or direct 320-214-4373.


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