KaBOOM! worked to ensure that the project would become an important part of the community.
"About 2 1/2 months ago, I sat down with a whole lot of kids at a local school and talked to them about how they like to play, why it’s important to them and they drew their idea of a dream playground. From those designs, we came up with three unique custom designs and then the community voted on which one they wanted to see," Hull said.
Community was something that could not only be felt but also seen Friday as hundreds of community members busily rushed around pouring cement, giving the park a fresh paint coat and carrying mulch by the tarp full to the playground site. Volunteer Peg Campbell explained she was on site because of the importance of play. "Play is vital with a capital 'V.' It's when kids learn to be creative and hone in those creative thoughts,” she said.
That sense of community made choosing Ottumwa a simple decision for DPS. "Ottumwa was an easy choice because we have a very large corporate presence here in the community, so it made perfect sense," said Barnes.
KaBOOM! had its own reasons for choosing Ottumwa. "The wonderful thing about this specific project is that Dr Pepper Snapple employees here are also community members; they live and work here," explained Hull.
Ottumwa High School senior Kasidee Henderson spent her day entertaining some of those same kids that drew the original design. Henderson volunteered her day because of her belief in importance of play in a community. She said, "The atmosphere is full of fun; you can feel it. The organization and planning that they had coming into this is outstanding because it will be done in one day."
As the six hours came to an end, volunteers wiped sweat from their brows and gave their shovels a much-deserved break while the stereo played Pilot's 1970s hit song "Magic." The site began to feel magical. After only six hours and the help from an entire community, Wildwood park is now the home to Ottumwa's newest park.