Park reserve playground donated overseas

Crews disassembled the modern playground at the Lake Elmo Park Reserve, located at 1515 Keats Ave. N. The equipment is being sent overseas to be reused in a new playground. (photo courtesy of Eden Rogers)

The new playground, rendered in the photo above, will cost the reserve more than $160,000. It comes amid an overhaul of park amenities, trail replacements and electrical upgrades. (photo courtesy of Eden Rogers)

To be replaced with modern, ADA-standard playground

Those who frequent the modern campground at the Lake Elmo Park Reserve may have noticed something missing: the playground.

During the second week in September, an organization called Kids Around the World arrived at the park reserve and removed the playground equipment to send it overseas.

When Parks Director Sandy Breuer learned the 19-year-old playground needed to be replaced, she reached out to Kids Around the World, a faith-based Illinois nonprofit founded in 1994. She learned about the organization at a national conference and knew she wanted the park reserve to get involved in its work.

“Let’s put this old equipment to better use,” she said.

Reusing the playground
Kids Around the World accepts playground equipment and ships it globally to areas without recreation structures. Breuer doesn’t know exactly where the playground parts are being sent to, but said it’s somewhere outside the U.S. It won’t be repurposed in the states, she said, for safety concerns.

Though the organization is religious, Breuer said the park approached it with a secular perspective. 

“We looked at it as an opportunity to provide equipment to poverty-stricken kids and [give] the opportunity to play,” she said.

Out with the old, in with the new
Now that the equipment is out of the park reserve, a new structure is already being installed at 1515 Keats Ave. N. Officials began the installation process just two days after the old structure was removed.

The park estimated the total construction cost of the new playground to be $161,500 and it includes a tightrope, treehouse, a double slide, a topsy-turny-spinner and a whoosh-winder — something Breuer says visitors will “just have to come out and see.”

The park reserve will reopen for 2020 campground season, which typically starts in May.

— Amy Felegy

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