Recent weekend rains set back the new playground at Grace Center. One feature of the Fair Play Project, the paving of concrete walks with rubberized surfaces, will now have to wait until spring.
Northeast Minneapolis Lions Club members finished installing all the playground equipment. The final task is (or was) moving the giant mound of wood chips onto the play surface. (The Northeaster went to press on Saturday, Sept. 2)
The Fair Play Project is an 8,000 square foot inclusive playground at 1500 NE 6th St., the brainchild of the Northeast Minneapolis Lions Club, whose $60,000 seed money made the project possible. The Lions partnered with Grace Center, volunteers and sponsors from the Lions, and sponsors such as Xcel Energy, Northeast Bank, Minneapolis Police Federation Charities, the Italian American Club of Minneapolis, individual donors, and a Hennepin County Youth Sports grant.
Playground designer Camille Calderaro said that inclusivity was Grace Center’s primary objective, making a space where family members with or without special needs will be able to play together.
Using Play & Park (a division of Playcore Companies) structures, the park will serve seven Playcore principles of inclusive play; be fair; be included; be smart; be independent; be safe; be active; and be comfortable.
She noted that there would be an equal number of ground-level play experiences as those on the structures, and that ADA requirements are met, as well.
What would have been two final days when most of the wood chips would have been spread, August 25-26, were rained out.
At 4 p.m. on Aug. 31, a yellow mixer truck and two Marshall Concrete employees arrived at the site to deliver sand for the park’s extra-large sandbox. Eight yards of coarse washed sand was conveyed over a fence and through a narrow chute.
The delivery was a donation from Marshall Concrete Products, which also contributed the concrete for the numerous footings for the play structures.
Lion volunteers put the finishing touches on the structures, leaving only the spreading of a 12-inch thick covering of wood mulch. Volunteers would try to complete this last task the weekend of Sept. 2-3.
Concerns about curing time, affected by cold and rain, dictate that the rubberized surfaces will have to wait until next spring.
Northeast Lion and volunteer Heidi Zaworski has helped spearhead this project.For more information, Zaworski can be reached at 612-408-0242 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below: Assembly of playground elements took a combination of skilled volunteers and many hands, guided by a supervisor from the supplier. At right, top, the crew from one of the early work days. Bottom row: Assembling the final pieces, and the sand being brought by conveyor through a chute to fill the extra-large sandbox. (Photos by Mark Peterson)