Play for all

Lions Club dedicates Stayer Park all-inclusive playground
Review story and photos by Emmitt B. Feldner


AS IT HAS been since it opened last fall, the all-inclusive playground in downtown’s Stayer Park (above) was busy with users of all ages Saturday, when the playground was formally dedicated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony (cover) including city officials and Plymouth Lions Club members. The Lions Club led the fund-raising effort for the playground and took a key role in designing the equipment, which provides accessibility for users of all abilities. AS IT HAS been since it opened last fall, the all-inclusive playground in downtown’s Stayer Park (above) was busy with users of all ages Saturday, when the playground was formally dedicated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony (cover) including city officials and Plymouth Lions Club members. The Lions Club led the fund-raising effort for the playground and took a key role in designing the equipment, which provides accessibility for users of all abilities. PLYMOUTH – It was a special day all around, but no more so than for one special guest.

Plymouth Lions Club members and city officials held the official dedication and ribboncutting Saturday for the new all-inclusive playground in Stayer Park downtown.

Among the honored guests was Plymouth native and 2017 Miss Wheelchair Wisconsin Myranda Gereau.

“Everyone’s going to be able to come to this park and do whatever they can and be just like anyone else,” Gereau told the audience at the ceremony.

Gereau was referencing what she termed the “all abilities playground” in the midst of the riverfront park that Mayor Donald Pohlman termed “a jewel in our downtown.”

They were among the speakers at the ceremony held on the pavilion just east of the playground prior to the ribbon cutting.

The Lions Club took the lead in raising funds to match a $300,000 grant from the Stayer Foundation for the new playground, then worked with city officials to design the “all abilities playground” with a Cheese Capital of the World theme.

Gereau told the group that when she was growing up, she was only able to watch from a distance as other children played on playgrounds.

“I’m not telling you this to make you feel sad,” Gereau said reassuringly, “but to bring you some perspective on what this park is going to mean. I’m so excited that I’m going to be playing on it and I’m 22!”

Master of ceremonies Tom Turicik noted afterward that Gereau’s remarks left few with dry eyes in the audience.

City Administrator Brian Yerges gave a history of the Stayer Park project, which he noted had been discussed since the early 1990s, but with no progress.

“Every time we came up with the numbers, we kept getting short, and not just a few dollars,” Pohlman acknowledged.

The project regained impetus when the city completed a study of the Mullet River corridor several years ago.

“But we figured this would probably be the last part of the plan to be completed,” Yerges said of the new park. That is, he added, until the Stayer Foundation, the Lions Club and others – many others – in the community stepped up to make it happen.

“In terms of a true city project, I can’t think of one where there hasn’t been more partners,” Yerges admitted.

Pohlman also praised the Lions Club. “Partnering with them and other organizations, we have what you see today. They saw the value in this.”

Lions Club President Marty Bonk thanked a long list of supporters and contributors to the project, all of whom received plaques in recognition of their help.

“We’re really here to especially thank all of those people who donated to this project,” past Lions President Jerry Baltus agreed. “We are so blessed as a community to have this kind of people.”

“This has been so much more than we ever imagined,” Bonk said of the new playground. “One of the things we hoped for and have seen is (the playground) bringing children and parents and families together.”

That was in evidence throughout the ceremony and ribbon cutting, as the playground was in full use by children of all ages and abilities as the event was going on.


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