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Walt Willey Media > Proposed Kiwanis park gets top vote, awaits jury decision

4 Jun 2015

06/12/15 Update: It's official: The Ottawa Kiwanis Club learned Friday that it has been named the winner of the national Legacy of Play Contest.


Proposed Kiwanis park gets top vote, awaits jury decision

Posted: Tuesday, June 2, 2015 4:57 pm | Updated: 7:34 pm, Tue Jun 2, 2015.

Proposed Kiwanis park gets top vote, awaits jury decision

This parking lot at Lincoln-Douglas Park in Ottawa has been designated as the location for an "inclusive" playground. The shed would be demolished.

Thanks to strong community support, the Ottawa Kiwanis Club got the most online Facebook votes nationally in support of its bid for $25,000 of equipment for a new ”inclusive” playground.

Ottawa received more than 10,000 votes and bested its nearest competitor in the Legacy of Play contest that ended Monday.

That doesn’t mean Ottawa automatically will get the equipment.

June 8 to June 12 a contest jury will review the ten park submissions with the highest number of votes. A winner and alternate will be selected to receive the equipment being provided by Landscape Structures, a Minnesota firm which has designed, manufactured and installed more than 80,000 playgrounds worldwide.

But even if a different project is selected, the Ottawa playground still will proceed, said June Steder, a Kiwanis member.

The plan is for an inclusive park that will be be accessible for all children and families regardless of any physical, mental or sensory needs.

“We’re going to build this park no matter what, that’s the big thing for people to know,” Steder said.

“We think it’s going to cost upwards of $300,000. The $25,000 of playground equipment would help, but we’re going to need a lot more.”

Grants and matching funds opportunities will be applied for, Steder said.

The mission of Kiwanis is “serving the children of the world.”

Partnering with the Ottawa Kiwanis in the playground project is the city of Ottawa, the Ottawa YMCA and Easter Seals of La Salle and Bureau counties.

The proposed location for the new park is in Lincoln-Douglas Park where there currently is a parking lot and a shed next to the La Salle County Housing Authority building. The shed would be torn down and a new surface applied with an estimated cost of $42,000.

People, businesses and organizations that want to get involved may contact Steder at aotechinc@yahoo.com.

Checks may be sent to the Ottawa YMCA. They should be made payable to the YMCA with the notation it is for the inclusive playground. The address for the YMCA is 201 E. Jackson St, Ottawa, IL 61350.