METCALF, IL. (ECWd) –
Metcalf residents and other volunteers got together this weekend to install new playground equipment at their village park, just in time for it to be ready for children to use on Easter Sunday.
In 2009 the ILMRMA insurance company, with the Village of Metcalf, deemed most of their playground equipment unsafe and required them to decommission and dispose of it. Those pieces included a slide, witches hat, and merry-go-round. The only thing left for the children was 2 small horses on springs for the small tykes and swings with a couple teeter totters that the insurance company also frowned upon.
The village park is the heart of Metcalf and is the community gathering place; so without playground equipment for the children there were no constructive activities for the children. Studies show that when children are not given safe activities or places to recreate, they are more likely to participate in vandalism, loitering and other unsafe activities. The community’s leadership recognized the need to replace the playground equipment for the children. The village board members, village residents, volunteers, local businesses, and many people who are just interested in helping were the foundation to receiving funds since then. Pea gravel was donated by an anonymous donor for the required loose fill. The Farmer’s Inn, located in Metcalf, was a grand source for donations and sponsoring events to help raise funds. They have been raising funds through donations, raffles and ‘Fun Days’ since then and a new merry-go-round (requested by many Metcalf children) was purchased for approximately $3,000 and installed in the park along with donated items which includes a new slide, small arch, and stepping pods in June of 2011.
Raising funds continued until a tip was sent to them that government officials, such as our village board cannot legally have raffles to raise money for this. This ‘tip’ stopped the fundraising for the volunteers and board members. They were at a stand-still with less than $8,000 in funds to use for the playground. A forum was held for the children interested in the Metcalf playground. The children received catalogs and paper to make their wish lists.
Trish Vitale donated her time and experience to help with writing a grant to try to achieve the remaining funds needed to purchase as much of the children’s wish list. In August of 2013, Development Manager Warren Sperry, with the Edgar County Community Foundation, awarded a $3,200 grant to the Village of Metcalf for the playground equipment. This foundation recognizes individuals, groups, and organizations which strive to improve the quality of life for the citizens of Edgar County, and felt honored to help.
$10,000 was used for the Tarantula Climber, Zipline Glider, Fire Truck Climber, and Boulder Climbing Wall; leaving approximately $1,000 in an account for maintenance for the playground as needed. Miracle Playground Equipment waived all shipping and handling charges as well as donating a supervisor (an approximate $1,000 savings to us) to help our village complete our playground.
In the process of installation, 12 inches of sod and dirt was removed to allow for the 12 inches of required loose fill around pieces. Each leg of all pieces installed is required to be in concrete 2 feet below ground to assure security. As of right now on April 20, 2013, the Metcalf Playground meets all safety requirements.
Pictures show removal of unsafe trapeze bars, broken teeter totters, and the ground for preparation. Volunteers worked all weekend to have the playground ready for the children on Easter morning. Volunteers included (in no particular order) Ronnie Lingafelter, Kim Machango, Elmer Snoke, Tim Gossett, Trish Vitale, Cori Seeley, Warren Sperry, Dennis Cary, Jerry Eads, Tara Eakle, Mike Haddix, Miracle Playground Installation Supervisor Justin Womack, and a tandem truck donated for service by John Kindred of Kindred Farms.
Information for this article supplied by Metcalf Mayor Cheryl Gill.
Pictures from Saturday (in no particular order):