Lansing Lions Club holds ribbon cutting event to officially open "Our Ship of Dreams" playground

Making it official ... Members of the Lansing Lions Club officially cut the ribbon signifying the official opening of the "Our Ship of Dreams" playground (pictured in the background) in the park located along South Front Street in Lansing. The year-long campaign of planning, fundraising and installation was celebrated with the ribbon cutting. Photo by Susan Cantine-Maxson.

More than just a bicycle rack ... A bicycle rack in the shape of a fish holds special meaning as part of the Lansing Lions Club playground improvements. The bicycle rack was initiated by a donation from Lansing resident Steve Casterton in memory of his nephew, Danan John Lansing of Ossian, who passed away at the age of 16 but loved to fish and take part in other activities with his grandparents in Lansing and was a strong student and athlete at South Winneshiek High School involved in many activities. The "tail-end" placard near the bicycle rack memorializes the donation by Casterton, along with an additional contribution to the rack by Lansing Housing Products. Photo by Susan Cantine-Maxson.

Indeed, a community project ... Pictured above celebrating the official opening of the "Our Ship of Dreams" playground in Lansing are members of the Lansing Lions Club, along with some of the 50 volunteers who helped install the new playground equipment and others who supported the project in a variety of ways to help make it become a reality over the past year. Photo by Susan Cantine-Maxson.

by Susan Cantine-Maxson

Lansing Lions Club President Tara Kolsrud, along with fellow Lions and volunteers, officially opened the newly-constructed “Our Ship of Dreams” playground equipment Sunday, November 5 at the playground along South Front Street just south of the Lansing ball diamond. Project Chairperson Arlen Wonderlich presented remarks to those gathered to celebrate the culmination of a year-long project.

Wonderlich emphasized, “Because of you, the Lansing Lions were able to do what many thought was the impossible. We were able to organize a successful fundraising campaign to build a safe, handicap accessible and educational playground with a river theme. With the community’s help, we were able to meet our budget, and with over 50 volunteers we were able to install 'Our Ship of Dreams,' multi-colored benches, a handicap accessible picnic table, a bicycle rack and 10 trees to complete this beautiful playground project.  By next spring, we will install sidewalks, a handicap accessible teeter totter, educational signage about boating and water safety, and signage to honor those who gave funds to our fund raising campaign, 'The Big Catch.' We completed the installation on one of the hottest weekends of the summer, with over 50 people helping with the installation.  We had many organizations, companies and people who have supported us. It has truly been a community effort.  As we were picking up our tools after the installation, it was rewarding to have some children come up and ask, 'Is the playground finished? Can we play on it now?' I proudly said, 'Yes, have fun'.”

The Lansing Lions Club meets once a month and has contributed much to the community. The club welcomes new members who wish to serve their community.

In addition to the 50 volunteers and all the individual donors, the Lansing Lions Club would also like to acknowledge appreciation for the contributions made to the project: Financial donations from grants from Wellmark Health Foundation, R.J.McElroy Foundation, Allamakee County Community Foundation and Arlin Falck Foundation; Financial contributions from Gundersen Health Systems, Mayo Health, Kerndt Brothers Savings Bank, New Albin Savings Bank, Farmers and Merchants Savings Bank, Waukon State Bank, Lansing VFW, Lansing American Legion, Mississippi Valley Sportsmen, Friends of Pool Nine, Our Savior Lutheran Church, Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, St. Joseph Catholic Church and Lansing United Methodist Church; support from KNEI and The Standard newspaper, Lucky Duck Metal Fabrication and Rick Ronan for design and painting of the benches, picnic table and bicycle rack, Lansing Cub Scout Pack 47, and in-kind donations for site prep from Jason Brink and Matt Troendle, fork lift from Rick Welsh, concrete and concrete construction from Croell Redi-Mix and Bob Henkel and Strong Rock and Gravel, and tree planting form Quality Tree Service from Tom Burke and Jeff Gramlich. Food contributions during the installation came from local restaurants, grocery stores and convenience stores, Calhoun Creamery and the Allamakee County Dairy Board, all making this a true community project.

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