Lansing Lions host groundbreaking for "Our Ship of Dreams" playground project

The Lansing Lions Club hosted a groundbreaking event Sunday, June 11 - celebrated as National Children's Day - for the new "Our Ship of Dreams" playground project being planned for the city park within the Lansing Sports Complex along the east edge of town. Local children (pictured above) were in attendance to turn some of the first shovels of dirt at the site where the riverboat-themed playground (artist's rendering of which is pictured below) will be constructed, including Oden, Ada and Easden Welsh, Andrew and Lilly Kolsrud, Carter Seitz and Lenna Rohrer. Also pictured observing the groundbreaking at far right in the above photo are, left to right, Msgr. Ed Lechtenberg, who offered a blessing and sang a rendition of "What a Wonderful World" during the ceremony, and Lansing Lions Club member Arlen Wonderlich, who has helped spearhead the project. Photos by Susan Cantine-Maxson.

Fundraising campaign within $15,000 of its goal

by Susan Cantine-Maxson

The Lansing Lions Club hosted community members of all ages Sunday, June 11 for a groundbreaking ceremony for the new playground equipment to be placed in the city park just south of the ball diamond within the Lansing Sports Complex on the east edge of town. Sunday, June 11 had been designated as National Children's Day, a seemingly fitting time to break ground on a new playground project designed to benefit local children and those visiting the Lansing area.
Efforts have been underway since August of 2016 to raise almost $68,000 to fund the project, with $15,000 remaining to be raised. If funds are complete, the installation of the riverboat-themed playground equipment would take place right after Labor Day this year.

The fundraising campaign for the project is called “Big Catch," and the first category of "Paddlefish," representing a $15,000 donation, is still available. Three foundations have given $10,000 each to land them in the "Walleye" donation status: RJ McElroy, Allamakee County Community Foundation and Arlin Falck Foundation from Caledonia, MN. The "Northern" category, a donation of $5,000 each, was achieved by Kerndt Brothers Bank and Gundersen Medical Foundation. Numerous other categories are available for other donations.  All donations of any size are welcome and encouraged to support the young people of the area.

The playground will include handicap accessible features unique from the more traditional children’s playground settings. Additional benches for seating will be provided by Lucky Duck Fabrication. Plans include sidewalks, tree planting and sun shades as well as the playground equipment entitled "Our Ship of Dreams." The playground equipment will be laid out in a riverboat image (see below photo at right) and will measure 24 feet wide and 48 feet long with a six-foot perimeter of engineered wood.

Lansing area residents Tara Kolsrud, Kelly Welsh and Leah Rohrer are the committee members heading up these efforts, along with Arlen Wonderlich, who has worked diligently to secure grants for the project. Msgr. Ed Lechtenberg of Lansing treated the group attending the groundbreaking ceremony to a blessing that included a short rendition of “It’s  a Wonderful World” in celebration of Children’s Day. He also reflected on the joy he had as a child swinging in the park which used to be in the area where the current Kee High School sits.

Marlene Duffy, Lansing Parks and Recreation Board members, shared appreciative comments from the board for the Lansing Lions' contributions to the park. Following other presentations, the groundbreaking took place with several Lansing children participating in turning some of the first shovels of dirt for the project. All those in attendance were then treated to hot dogs for a picnic held at the Lansing Lions Club shelter house at the city park.

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