Small village eyes big goal, finds successMore than five years ago, a small group of people — six in fact — volunteered to raise money for our local park.
More than five years ago, a small group of people — six in fact — volunteered to raise money for our local park.
We came up with a list of equipment we would like for our kids. Then we found out how much playground equipment costs — about $32,000 to get a major play set, swings, barbecue grill, soccer nets and smaller items.
We looked for ways to raise money. One idea was to do meat raffles at two area bars. It sounded silly, but we tried it.
After making $200 a week, it was not silly anymore.
We wrote grants and solicited help from local businesses, but only received $1,200. If we were going to get that equipment, it was going to take a while and many, many meat raffles.
That first year we raised enough for two official sized soccer nets, baby swing and barbecue grill.
The second year we heard from the kids they wanted a basketball court, so we spent $6,000 on a half court. Kids were literally waiting to shoot hoops.
In 2008, Matthew I. Pionk, a young man who grew up in Oliver, gave his life for his country in Iraq. With the approval of his widow, Melanie, and his parents, we proudly named our park the Matthew I. Pionk Memorial Park — for Matthew and all the local soldiers that lost their lives in war. Melanie gave a generous donation and Matthew’s father had a beautiful memorial created along with a light flagpole installed. Their support of what we are doing still inspires us.
After the 2008 improvements, we decided to save our money for the big play set. People wondered why we didn’t do anything. Then in the summer of 2009, we had the $19,000 for the play set. We rounded up more than 20 people to help with the assembly, concrete and tons and tons of sand! We started at 8 a.m. and wrapped up at 6 p.m. In one day, our little park was now a destination for the young kids to come and play!
Now that our big goal was achieved, we could finally stop, but why?
Since 2009, we have planted around 10 trees, installed a new swing set, some benches and some of those springy things little kids ride on. We also have held Halloween parties and Breakfast/Cookies with Santa.
A local South Superior resident, Nellie Bird, donated $25,000 to the Matthew I. Pionk Memorial Park.
On May 19, we began the installation process of an additional $20,000 worth of new playground equipment, all the equipment is secured in the ground. All we need to do is add all the attachments to the equipment. We have a Super Dome, a sky runner, 4-way rocker, sky pods, and much more new equipment.
We will be completing the installation of the new equipment within coming weeks.
From what started with a slide, merry go round and sandbox, we have created an awesome park for all kids in Oliver and surrounding communities to enjoy for the years to come.
All it took was a couple hours a week for a few years, and we helped to make our little community a better place for kids and their parents.
A special thanks, to the memory of Nellie Bird, Duane and Sandy Pionk, Melanie Pionk, the many supporters of the meat raffles, the committee members for volunteering their time, and all the volunteers for their help in installing the park equipment. The Oliver Park Project Committee thanks each one of you for your selflessness in volunteering and supporting a great park. Please visit the park and utilize all of our new equipment.
The Oliver Park Project Committee: Kerry Jo Cain, Ivan Ronstadt, Randy Rowe, Kevin Cain, Jerry Ruzic, Kelly Sheridan, Carole Rowe and Michelle LaPorte.