It was many hands on-deck Thursday, Aug. 15 as volunteers lifted poles, bolted platforms, mounted rails and fed chains through swings for the new playground equipment at Webster Dream Park.
With much of the work done — holes dug and concrete walkways set — volunteers came together to build Superior’s first all-inclusive, all-abilities park.
Kids could be playing on it by Saturday, Aug. 17, or Sunday, Aug. 18, said Kalee Hermanson of South Superior. She and her daughter, Kenna Hermanson, 8, lobbied their councilor, then city offices from the mayor on down, to make Kenna’s idea for a playground where all children, regardless of ability, could play together a reality.
Union laborers, office staff from J.R. Jensen and others worked alongside parks and recreation staff for the step-by-step process of putting the playground equipment together.
Even Mayor Jim Paine took advantage of the summer weather to get out of the office and lend a hand.
“I thought I should do my part,” Paine said. “It’s been a while since I’ve done real work. The mayor’s a dirty job, but this is a little different.”
Mark Johnson, a special education teacher at Superior High School and organizer with the Tony G 3-on-3 basketball tournament, said the Hermansons have helped him out several times with the fundraising event, so he thought he would return the favor.
Besides that, Johnson said he used to own a business that provided recreational opportunities for people with disabilities and finding stuff for them to do in Superior was difficult. He sees the park as an opportunity to help the community to improve that so he decided to lend a hand.
“It’s a good day to be outside,” said Andy Mayry, an accountant with J.R. Jensen.
The J.R. Jensen crew said they received an email and decided to lend a hand to help out the community.
“It’s a community project and J.R. Jensen has been involved in the community for many, many years,” said Doug Montavon, vice president of the company. “The laborers asked us to provide some manpower as well.”
Unfortunately, when the request came from Laborers 1091 business manager and City Councilor Dan Olson, Montavon said the company’s crews have been very busy this summer, which is why it was primarily office staff lending a hand.
Montavon recruited his son, Carter, to lend a hand and the company’s president, Todd Rothe, also recruited his son for the two-day community building project.
Brady Rothe, 17, said he planned to work throughout the day Thursday and would be back on Friday to keep working on the project until its complete.
“My dad asked me to come out and I just think it’s a really great thing for the community and Superior,” Rothe said.
Montavon said the company will be back Friday with its president leading the other half of the office staff to complete the project.
Kalee Hermanson said there is still a need for more volunteers and South End Days is still working to raise money for a restroom and a sensory garden that will be put in next summer. For information or to donate, visit southenddays.com.
“It’s always good to help the community,” Montavon said, adding that company was also involved in building the playground near the Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center with equipment donated by Murphy Oil.
“Kids need a place to play,” Montavon said.