Kids in the Wadena area know the wooden playground at Tapley Park very well. It's the city's largest single play structure and perhaps most well used.
But at just 10 years old, it's come time to replace the structure after wear and tear is beginning to take its toll. City staff have been consistently replacing parts that have either been broken or rotted. Public Works director Dan Kovar said the department has been looking at their options for replacement now for about two years.
"My hope is to keep patching the system until we have the money to replace, but that will depend on how long fundraising takes," Kovar said in an email.
The Wadena Park Board has been working with Midwest Playscapes, of Savage, Minn., for over a year to determine a design for a structure far less likely to wear out like the wooden playset has. They've come to an agreement after reviewing three different concepts based on the board's desires and budget restraints.
It's the budget restraints, at least within the City of Wadena, that have pushed the project into the hands of the park board to raise the funds. Kovar attempted to have the replacement project in the city's budget, but instead the park board is being tasked with raising all the funds. The design they chose includes four main features including a large web or net; a play cube; two tracks for gliding while seated; and a play structure with slide. It's designed for kids age 5-12 and it's current price is $67,482.
The group hopes to raise the funds this fall and winter and start construction of the new play structure in place of the current structure in spring 2022. If anyone wants to donate they can contact Dan Kovar at 218-631-7705 or the city office at 218-631-7707 for details. You can also chat with a park board member for more details. Park board members include Mike Pete, Sara Ross, Terry Olson, Dean Krogstad, Larry DeWald, Sandy Black and city council representative Wade Miller.
The original playground equipment installed in 2011 by Rainbow Play Systems was a donation from Fargo's Froggy 99.9 station listeners and spearheaded by Wadena-Deer Creek alumna Amanda Lea in the wake of the June 17, 2010 tornado which had destroyed recreational facilities in southwest Wadena.