Plans to make Webster Park an inclusive, all-abilities playground are moving ahead next year after the Superior City Council amended its 2019 capital improvement program.
The idea to go beyond standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act to make Webster Park accessible to people regardless of ability came from Kenna Hermanson, 8.
Kenna was discouraged that her friends with disabilities didn’t have the same opportunities to play as she did. So Kenna and her mother, Kalee Hermanson, got to work.
They met with two mayors, Bruce Hagen and Jim Paine; their city councilor, Dan Olson; park officials; designers; and three committees, garnering approval for the project from the Mayor’s Commission on Disabilities, then the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Commission, and finally, the Finance Committee, which approved $200,000 in the 2019 capital improvement program to go toward funding the estimated $250,000 project.
The park will feature a zipline with adaptive equipment, different sensory play options, swings on a new style frame and a merry-go-all, log balance beams, talking tree stumps, bongos, little forts and a playhouse, and specialized rubber surfacing to accommodate wheelchairs around the equipment. A sensory garden is also planned.
“Thank you so much for going through all the talks and discussions on Webster Park,” Kalee Hermanson told councilors Tuesday night. “I know it was a big decision.”
Tuesday night, Olson announced the launch of a capital campaign to raise the rest of the money needed for the project.
“We are going out to the community; we are going to raise some good money with some good partners, with some big partners, and we’re going to continue this to other parts of the community,” Olson said. “It’s time we start looking at the people that use these parks. It’s time that people with disabilities are as important as every single one of us.”
Kalee and Kenna Hermanson, and Dan Olson are seeking sponsorships for the park ranging from $100 to $10,000. Fundraising will continue next summer during the annual South End Days. Checks can be made payable to South End Days and can be sent to Terri Kalan, 21 N. 58th St., Superior, WI 54880.
The park is just one project included in the nearly $9.9 million in capital improvement program adopted Tuesday night for 2019. The program includes $2.7 million for streets and roads, $500,000 in sidewalks, $1 million for improvements at Barker’s Island Marina, Fairlawn Mansion and police department evidence storage, nearly $1.5 million for vehicles and equipment, and $975,000 for parks, recreation and forestry projects.
The Council also adopted its $8.2 million capital improvement program for 2020, and its tentative program for the following four years.