Submitted by Mike Darrah, Kiwanis Club of Clover Park.
This isn’t a fairy tale! This is a true life story.
Once upon a time, over a year ago, the Kiwanis Club of Clover Park decided to build a playground park. What to do to accomplish this? Create a Signature Project.
To start, we needed to obtain permission and help from The City of Lakewood’s Parks and Recreation Director, Mary Dodsworth. Together we put together a plan and obtained much needed support from the city to update the playground equipment at Kiwanis Park.
Fundraising came next, and our goal of $60,000 was exceeded, allowing us to purchase almost $70,000 worth of new and safe playground structures for the neighborhood park. In addition to the existing skateboard facility, Kiwanis Park would soon have a place for children of all ages to play and have fun.
Our major donors included Kiwanis International Children’s Fund, Kiwanis Club of Clover Park Foundation, Kiwanis Club of Greater Tacoma Foundation, City of Lakewood, Partners for Parks, Lakewood Community Foundation Fund, Rotary Club of Lakewood, and Kiwanis Club of Steilacoom Foundation. Additional funds were received from many individual donors throughout the community. THANK YOU to all for making this such a huge success.
Fast forward to September 28, 2019, on a damp, dreary, and cold morning, when 159 Lakewood volunteers descended upon Kiwanis Park to help make this dream come true. Adults and young alike were on site by 8 a.m. to off-load, unbox, unwrap, and sort a large trailer full of play equipment and hardware, delivered to us by Northwest Playground Equipment. I can safely state that 99% of the volunteers present had never assembled playground equipment before, but they all rose to the occasion. “What is a torque wrench?”, “What is a star bit?”, and “What are these funny-looking bolts?” was heard all morning, as groups split up and started assembling the pieces.
As the morning progressed, the parts of the puzzle began coming together in the form of a complete play structure, and by 2:30 p.m., we not only had assembled all the parts, but volunteers had moved and distributed 40 yards of engineered wood fiber for ground cover.
The most moving comments I heard were from a couple of our young volunteers, such as: “This is the first time I have used a wheelbarrow” and “Would you show me how to use a shovel?”. WOW!!! But we now had what resembled a playground for the kids.
To complete the project, during the past week, Kiwanis volunteers, along with Parks and Recreation maintenance crew, finished spreading an additional 200 yards of wood fiber. Sore backs and smiles indicated that we had finally done it. We could be proud of the park the community of Lakewood had built.
So, many THANK YOUs to our community volunteers from Pierce College Women’s Basketball team; Tacoma Area Rainbow Girls; Hudtloff Middle School; Lakes High School Air Force ROTC; Caring for Kids; West Pierce Fire Department; Lions Club; Lakewood Rotary; and Kiwanis members from Fircrest, Steilacoom, and Clover Park. We couldn’t have done it without you.
Come and see what we did. Our dedication ceremony is scheduled for October 26, Lakewood’s Make A Difference Day, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Join us at Kiwanis Park, 6002 Fairlawn Drive SW, for a hot dog off the grill, as we dedicate the new playground equipment to you and the City of Lakewood.
Remember, It’s All About the Kids!