Brashinger: Playground redo part of Frankfort Park District program
By Ginger Brashinger Citizen Journalistfirstname.lastname@example.org June 14, 2013 8:36AM
Families celebrate the grand opening of the Frankfort Park District's renovated playground at Indiana Boundary Park. | Supplied Photo
Updated: July 17, 2013 6:11AM
The Frankfort Park District recently celebrated its renovation of the playground at Indian Boundary Park with a grand opening.
The condition of the play area at the six-acre park at Nebraska Street and Luther Lane had deteriorated to the point where park district executive director Tom Carstens was getting “numerous calls” when he became director about three years ago.
Carstens was able to tell residents that the playground was scheduled for a complete overhaul, which was completed in the fall of 2012. The improvements included all new equipment, additional kid-friendly landscaping and a sidewalk surrounding the playground.
“We’ve noticed about twice the number of kids there since the remodel,” he said.
Frankfort resident Dave Baer said his son David, 9, is one of the park’s regulars, especially since the renovation of the playground was completed.
“It was definitely due for a change,” Baer said. “It was very dirty, old, small and run down.”
Baer said the swing set was separate from the other equipment, and the jungle gym was just a “long ramp with rocks underneath.”
For the purposes of aesthetics, Carstens said, the equipment and signage colors at the play area reflect the “wooded theme” of the park, which also includes baseball fields and large open areas in addition to many well-established shade trees.
Carstens said park district personnel speak with nearby residents prior to each park renovation so the district can select themes and colors appropriate for the neighborhood.
Gina Barrett said David Baer and her 10-year-old son Joey watched the progress of the Indian Boundary Park renovation project daily.
Because the Barretts live in the Fairbury Oaks apartment complex next to the park, Barrett said Indian Boundary Park is her son’s “back yard.”
“When we heard this was going to be done, we were ecstatic about it,” she said. “When the orange barrier fence went down, both kids were the first ones there.”
Not only kids in Frankfort are happy about the playground getting a makeover.
Carstens said the park district worked with Kids Around the World to donate the old playground equipment to a park for children in the Dominican Republic that has been “refurbished and reconstructed.”
He said the Frankfort Park District plans to continue to work with the nonprofit organization.
The current remodeling project for the district is Michele Bingham Park on Elsner Road and the Old Plank Road Trail, which the district recently acquired from the village, Carstens said.
The park district plans to return playground equipment to the Bingham Park, which currently has baseball and soccer fields. Carstens said the work should be completed by late summer.
Next year, the park district will work on Lincoln Meadows Park, Johnson Avenue and Elm Street, as it continues its program to improve and update its parks.
“We want to make sure when we do something, we do it right,” Carstens said.