Church opens new playground [UPDATED]Published 10:47am Thursday, September 27, 2012 Updated 11:03am Thursday, September 27, 2012
The hard work of many members of Augustana Lutheran Church paid off Sunday when children were finally able to swing, climb and slide on the church’s new playground equipment.
“We saw this as a mission to serve the church and surrounding neighborhoods,” said director of youth and family ministries Rebekah Thompson.
Ground was broken in August, and the project was completed on Saturday night. Everything but the ground work was done by members of the congregation, Thompson said.
When a member mentioned the idea of installing playground equipment about a year ago, it didn’t seem like a realistic project to take on. After doing some research, however, the church accepted the challenge, she said.
Thompson said she expected the fundraising process to take longer, but there was so much interest in the project that it only took about eight months. Money was raised through donations from members, T-shirt sales and the church’s annual Harvest Dinner in November.
“It was fun to see that we followed through on something like this and got it done,” she said. “People can actually see where the money went.”
The playground has swings and a commercial-grade play structure. Thompson said this makes it more safe and meets all regulations. The equipment was selected to be appropriate for children ages two to 12. Some of the kids even had a say in the equipment selection process.
Since the equipment at Eisenhower School was taken down, the closest playground to Augustana Lutheran Church is at Adams Park on Grotto Lake. Thompson said she thought it was important for the community to have a playground for the surrounding neighborhoods.
“I’m excited about the excitement people have shown for it,” she said. “It’s something people have seen as a need.”
This project was never supposed to be an attempt to bring more families to the church. Instead, it was a way to reach out to the community, said Thompson.
“We see kids as important to our community, and this is a way to serve them,” she said.