Monday, September 5, 2011

Last week I was involved in one of those moments in time that come along occasionally... The assemble of the playground equipment in Whiteside Park, in Ely MN.

I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical when we started unloading the full semi truck that pulled up on Thursday morning. There was a lot of stuff there. Heavy stuff, well wrapped. A full truck...

Once we had it all out and laying on the ground it became an unwrapping frenzy. We became obsessed. It was a warm, humid day, and a couple hours later I was dripping with sweat. There was a lot of people who came and worked on this. Lots of kids too.

I showed up that morning not sure how much I would do or how long I would stay, but once we started, I could not leave. It became a lot of fun...

At about 11:00 am, the guys from Midwest Playscapes showed up led by a young man named Bryson Pudwill. We could see right away he had done this a few times before. He did an extremely admirable job of keeping everyone moving and busy with various tasks while focusing himself and his two men on the details. I was impressed by his energy and focus.

By early afternoon we had everything unpacked and laid out and were putting in the first of the posts and had many parts assembled on the ground.








In that last picture the guy in the yellow shirt walking by is J.J. Day of All Day Landscapes in Ely. It is probably safe to say this project would not have happened nearly so efficiently without J.J. and his skid-steer mounted auger. He worked tirelessly the entire two days and deserves a huge thanks for his efforts...


The next day we really hit it. It was amazing how quickly things started taking shape:



By the end of the day we had everything assembled and our orange caution fencing up. We wanted to make sure the concrete around these posts had plenty of time to set up...



It should be noted here that, even though we have all the equipment set up, the project is far from done.  About $60,000.00 was raised, mostly from contributions from generous donors. This was enough to purchase the equipment and get it set up, but still needed is about $40,000.00 to finish with ground cover, (to make it all safe), and landscaping and a few other details. To get more information on donating funds or purchasing pavers, (the picnic table area will have brick pavers), you could contact the city of Ely:
209 E Chapman St
Ely, MN  55731
218-226-5449
 
...after the fencing was up and things were quiet on Friday evening, everyone had left the park... nothing more could be done but waiting... the concrete needed to set up before anyone could climb around on the stuff...
But there was one person who did not leave. Council Member Heidi Omerza. Heidi had been here the entire time helping with every aspect of this project. This has been a dream of hers as long as I have known her and she looked at it through the eyes of a child on Christmas morning. Always one to go way over and above on everything, she took it upon herself to stay the entire night watching over our huge investment of labor and money to make sure nothing would disturb anything during the crucial concrete set-up time.
...if you know Heidi, you know that's just the way she is...