POMEROY - The kids in Pomeroy have a new place to play.
Volunteers and professionals installed new playground equipment at the town park last Wednesday through Saturday. Three new large playsets were put in - a "Super Scoot" set under the trees for 2- to 5-year-olds, a "Radical Run" fitness set to the south of the shelter house, and a "Red Baron" set for ages 5 to 12, replacing the older wooden piece.
Smaller pieces were also installed such as a new tire swing, track glider, teeter-totter and sand digger, and new swings on existing swing-sets.
Sarah Burke watches her son, William Burke, 6, play at the Pomeroy playground prior to installation of the new equipment. Sarah Burke is a member of the PARK group. In addition to three new playsets, the playground got some swings replaced, a new tire swing, new teeter-totters and a sand digger.
All this was possible because of the Pomeroy Area Recreation for Kids group, or PARK, which has been raising money and shopping for equipment since the group formed in September 2012.
As a mom, PARK member Stacy Johnson had an interest in building up the park.
"Because it's a small town, and I'd like to preserve it because I grew up here," she said. "And I would like to have some fun things for our kids to have, like we did growing up.
"It just seems like it's deteriorated in the last 30 years because it hasn't been preserved, so it needs to be redone."
PARK held fundraisers with the Pomeroy Historical Society in November and December. Then it held its own events, a chili supper in January and an Easter festival in March. The community responded quite well, and the group raised the needed funds faster than they'd planned.
"I think that's the neatest thing about this project," said PARK member Monica Welander. "When we got together we thought it was going to take a couple years to get there, but with the overwhelming community response and help, monetary-wise and donations, we've been able to reach it in eight months."
Member Sarah Burke said, "Everybody has been involved. We've done the leg work, but the community has really come together for this. We've had lots of volunteers who give their time to help set up, and tear down. The North Iowa Knights football team came and helped us at our Easter Festival. The school let us use both gyms and their home ec room for free."
City Clerk Sarah Juilfs and others helped by writing grants for the park, Welander said. And thanks to a matching grant from the equipment company, the group got three pieces for the price they'd initially budgeted for one, plus help with the installation and ground work.
Now the group is working on getting the mulch around the Radical Run, painting the older equipment, and working on borders, said Janelle Hinners, another PARK member. They also plan to put in a volleyball set.
The next step will be adding in basketball hoops at the tennis courts, she said.
"We've had a lot of positive feedback. They want us to start now," Hinners said. "We want to finish this part first."
"Let us enjoy the playground first and we'll keep working on the rest of it," said Burke.
The playground is centered around the shelter house built five years ago, so when people are using it they can see their kids playing.
"I think it's important because, our family has used the shelter house, and when your kids come out here, some of the equipment isn't very safe," Welander said. "Now we have the Pomeroy homecoming out here, and the park is like the center of it."
She said it is "a lot nicer to have nice, safe, fun equipment for the community to enjoy."