DANUBE - A two-year effort by volunteers in Danube to raise funds for a safe playground that is accessible for children of all abilities is seeing success.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is awarding the city of Danube and the volunteer Danube Park Committee a $150,000 Outdoor Recreation Grant, the city announced this week.

The funds will make it possible to build a handicap accessible park with new playground equipment, new public restrooms, indoor community gathering space and outdoor picnic shelter.

A group of volunteers from the Danube Park Committee and the Danube Area Athletic Club have been working together for more than two years to raise matching funds to receive the grant. They received donations from community members, businesses and foundations.

“This grant money will be instrumental in helping the playground committee achieve our goals of creating a safe and accessible outdoor environment for children and families in our communities to enjoy.” said Julie Krueger, president of the Danube Park Committee, in a news release announcing the grant award.

The new playground will offer safe equipment and surfaces in the park that will offer separate areas for infants, toddlers and older children. It will be accessible to those of all abilities with a poured-in-place surface that accommodates wheelchairs and walkers.

The warming/community clubhouse building will act as a warming house in the winter for the adjacent outdoor ice rink and as a community clubhouse in the warmer months.

“This project shows that a group of community volunteers can accomplish much by working together to improve our community,” said Ben Ryan, Danube Area Athletic Club President.

The playground committee expects to begin demolition of the old playground this month and will break ground on the new project later this summer. The group will be looking for local volunteers to help with demolition.

Information on how community members can help will be posted on the group's Facebook page, Heart of the City Playground Committee. The new warming/community clubhouse will be completed no later than the summer of 2021.

To learn more or make a donation to the project, contact Krueger, Heart of the City Playground Committee President, at 651-341-1144 or julie.krueger2000@gmail.com.