By JOSH VARDAMAN
Courier staff writer
---- — OTTUMWA — Wildwood Park in Ottumwa is going to be the recipient of some rather significant playground upgrades in the near future, but in order for the construction of the new equipment to be free for taxpayers, there has to be enough volunteer power helping.
“We are always looking for new volunteers,” city Park Department Director Gene Rathje said.
On Monday, the Ottumwa City Council approved a contract with Kaboom!, a nonprofit organization that specializes in playground design, and the Dr Pepper Snapple Group to provide $85,000 worth of playground equipment at Wildwood Park.
The Dr Pepper Snapple Group committed 90 percent of the funds for the project, and the other $8,500 has been promised by other local organizations, so the Ottumwa taxpayers will not have to pay for any of the equipment.
In order for the cost to stay at zero for Ottumwa citizens, volunteers are being sought after by the Park Department to help with the construction of the playground.
“We need people with good mechanical and building skills,” Rathje said.
He said they are looking for upwards of 150 volunteers to help with the playground assembly on June 13, and the people who helped construct the playground at The Beach Ottumwa are invited to help again.
The overall design of the playground is still being worked up. Rathje said they will be having a design day on April 22 to nail out the final bits of the construction.
One thing that definitely will be included with the new playground is an abundance of handicapped accessibility. On Monday the Ottumwa Park Advisory Board met to discuss the new equipment being put up in both Greater Ottumwa Park and Wildwood Park, and during the discussion the board members decided they would incorporate ramps and possibly specialized equipment, like a wheelchair swing, at the Wildwood Park playground.
Anyone who would like to assist with the construction of the Wildwood Park playground is encouraged to contact the Ottumwa Park Department at 682-8208.
— To see reporter Josh Vardaman's Twitter feed, go to @CourierJosh