Posted Online: May 08, 2010, 10:51 pm

Silvis park's new equipment 'awesome'

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Seth Kabala

Photo: Seth Kabala
New playground equipment at Schadt Park in Silvis is nearly ready for the kids -- and wannabe kids -- who will be using it starting this week, if all goes as scheduled.
Hop up ten brown steps, climb five blue ladder rungs, pull yourself up to a platform surrounded by bright yellow support posts and blue bars and what do you get?

A great view from the ten-foot-high platform at the top of the new playground equipment being installed at Schadt Park in Silvis.

Next? Plunge down one of two twisty slides branching off like comical plumbing, revel in the panoramic view the vantage point provides, or just close your eyes and let the breeze relax your senses.

All that will be available kids, and kids-at-heart, later this week if finishing touches are completed as planned.

The bright new structure, which replaces '80s-era equipment, is the brainchild of the Silvis Playground and Recreation Board, a separate entity from the city.

The parks board raised the nearly $40,000 necessary to purchase the equipment. "We've been saving for five years to do this," said President Bob Roman on Thursday, while waiting for a truckload of mulch to back into the work area. Additonal costs include concrete to secure support posts in the ground and 12" of mulch that will surround the entire apparatus.

The project won the approval of the droves of children and parents in Schadt Park Thursday,

"I think it looks really cool," Jenny Freeman said. "I think the kids will really like it. I know when we drive by our kids are really impressed by it."

"We have a home-school group and we're meeting here just to play," Stephanie Willcox said. "We're planning on [meeting here] through the summer … because the park looks awesome."

"That other one was here for a while, getting a little rugged," said Jeff O'Neil. " It's kind of nice that they're actually putting money in the park, giving kids a place to go and play instead of getting into trouble, playing in the streets, anything like that. It kind of adds a little more enthusiasm for them to actually come to the park."

So parents like it. So what. The real question is: do kids like it?

Unequivocally 'yes.'

Why?

"Because it's cool. New. I always like things that are new," said Lauren Freeman, 9.

"They're putting up more stuff and they're fixing it up a little and maybe making it more shiny and cleaner," said Tristan Willcox, 9.

"Because it has the big slide and you can slide down. How do you get up there?" Said Ryker O'Neil, 5.

The reactions should gratify the park board and the volunteers Mr. Roman said were critical.

Putting the equipment together was a cooperative effort by streets and park workers , fire department and garden club members and Anchor Lumber," said Kathy Hall, park board secretary. She said city administrator Jim Grafton and Mayor Bill Fox also volunteered time.

All worthwhile, Mr. Roman said. "Nothing's too good for the kids of Silvis."