New Delano playground will be ‘one-of-a-kind’
By Ryan Gueningsman
In memory of its co-founder, Landscape Structures of Delano will host a grand opening of its newest playground at Barb King Inspiration Park Saturday, Oct. 9.
The commercial playground manufacturer will host the event at the newly renamed park at the corner of Wright County Road 30 and Meadowlark Drive in Delano, and will commemorate Barb King, the co-founder of Landscape Structures, who passed away in March 2008 after a seven-month battle with cancer.
Barb co-founded Landscape Structures with her husband, Steve King, in 1971. Since that time, the pair introduced many innovations including continuous play, fitness-focused playground products, and environmentally friendly manufacturing processes that have changed the playground industry.
For nearly 40 years, Barb worked to fulfill the company’s mission of enhancing the lives of children through play while honoring the environment.
Because of Barb’s passion for children and nature, she created the Säjai Foundation, a national non-profit organization that promotes healthy lifestyles and futures for children and families. The Säjai Foundation continues Barb’s legacy by teaching children and families how to lead healthier and more active lives.
Many people remember Barb for her dedication to health, the environment, and kids, and the playground at Barb King Inspiration Park will exemplify all of those attributes.
“When designing the playground, we chose the materials based on their recycled content and recyclability,” explained Steve King, chairman at Landscape Structures.
The materials, including the steel posts and aluminum components, contain 50 to 80 percent recycled material. The look of the playground design is totally unique.
“While I was planning the design, I wanted it to truly be a testament to Barb,” said Steve. “The unique lines and colors, along with the materials, really accomplish that. The colors have an industrial look and feel to them. Barb always liked things that had a more industrial style to them. The most unique aspect of the design is the roofs.”
In addition to the one-of-a-kind playground, a concrete plaza was designed to fit between two play areas one for 5-to 12-year-olds, and the other for ages 2 to 5.
On this plaza is a kiosk that provides visitors with more information about Barb, as well as the surrounding landscape.
There will also be HealthBeat fitness equipment so that adults can exercise while supervising their children on the play equipment.
Special event to take place Saturday, Oct. 9
Landscape Structures invites children and their families to Barb King Inspiration Park Saturday, Oct. 9, from 10 a.m. to noon.
“Not only will they get to play on the one-of-a-kind playground equipment, but they will also have an opportunity to learn more about the woman for which the park is named,” according to Landscape Structures.
In addition, there will be entertainment for the whole family including face-painting, balloon animals, and performances by the Teddy Bear Band.
Refreshments from Apple Jack Orchards will be served. Following the grand opening of the playground, attendees can take part in Delano’s Fall Harvest Festival from noon to 3 p.m. at Central Park.
Since 1971, Landscape Structures Inc. has been the leading commercial playground equipment manufacturer in the world. Its mission from day one has been to enhance children’s lives by fostering and creating inspiring play experiences while honoring the environment.
Tree donation program for park underway
As part of the park improvements, residents and businesses are being invited to donate a tree to be planted in honor of Barb King.
The city budgeted $100,000 and is anticipating its final expenses for the project to be around $80,000. These dollars came from the city’s capital improvement plan, which is funded by the general fund.
Landscape Structures contributed about $100,000 of playground equipment.
“Barb contributed to the Delano community and larger causes in many ways,” commented Delano City Administrator Phil Kern. For every tree privately donated, the City of Delano and Landscape Structures will match the donation by planting another tree in the park.
The cost of the donation is $230. A local tree farm is providing large trees, transported on site by a tree spade, for this price.
The type and location of the tree will be determined by the City and Landscape Structures, in accordance with the recommended landscaping plan for the park, according to the city.
Each person, company, or entity that donates a tree will be recognized by a ribbon that will be placed on the tree for the park dedication Friday, Oct. 8, and the grand opening ceremonies Saturday, Oct. 9.
There will also be a public acknowledgement of donations on the city’s website, and other publication methods as available.
A commitment to donate a tree is preferred by Tuesday, Oct. 5. Donations will be accepted after that date, but recognition at the Oct. 8-9 ceremonies cannot be guaranteed.
Contact Megan Andrada at Landscape Structures, at MeganAndrada@playlsi.com or (763) 972-5237; or Kern at the City of Delano at firstname.lastname@example.org, or (763) 972-0565, for more information about making a donation.