Volunteers, tools, donations needed for build of all-inclusive playground in Monroe

The nonprofit started four years ago with a goal of rebuilding the playground at Wolfe Park.

Marissa Alter

Apr 15, 2022, 10:37 PM

Updated 772 days ago


Dan Keene is a father of two whose family moved to Monroe, in part, because of the parks. Now, Keene is helping to lead a major effort at one of them as chairman of the Monroe Playground Foundation.
The nonprofit started four years ago with a goal of rebuilding the playground at Wolfe Park.
"There was this beautiful old wooden playground that stood for nearly 30 years," Keene explained. "Wood ages, and it really had met it's time."
"The old playground was amazing," added Amanda Bean, volunteer coordinator for the Monroe Playground Foundation. "It's kind of what you'd think of if you walk up to a medieval castle built for kids. It had peaks and tunnels and slides and swings and caves that kids could climb into. It was just kind of a magical place."
Known as the Kids Kreation Playground, it went up in 1992 thanks to a week-long town build by volunteers.
"A group of us got together and said how cool would it be if we did what they did in 1992 again, and we tried to carry the spirit of the old playground forward," Keene said.
So, the Monroe Playground Foundation needs about 2,000 volunteers to help construct the Wolfe's Den Playground from May 10 through May 16.
"We start on the Tuesday, and then by that following Monday, there's a new playground standing where there was an empty space, so that takes an army of people," Keene said. "You don't need to know how to build. You don't even need to know how to use a tool. There's a job for everybody. Everything from helping to spray paint screws and run materials around to people who really do know how to build."
Bean told News 12 there will be three shifts each day, and volunteers will be fed lunch and dinner. There will also be on-site childcare for those with kids.
"I think the week-long community build is going to be something really special that people are going to remember for a long time," Bean said.
Along with volunteers, the team is also looking for tools, "We definitely need everything from wrenches and screwdrivers to wheelbarrows to circular saws to table saws and drills so anything anybody can loan to us would be a tremendous help," Bean said. She pointed out the nonprofit is insured if any tools get damaged.
"One of the big things for us with this playground is the accessible nature of it. It's all poured in place surfacing. There are ramps all over the place, and our vision of this has really been side by side play for all, so whether you're in a wheelchair or just walking around the playground, we wanted everybody to be able to play together," Keene explained.
"It's going to be a really special place where all the kids of Monroe and the surrounding areas can come and play regardless of what their needs are," Bean added. She said it will be 9,600 square feet with a section for older kids and a section for smaller kids.
The project is being paid for through community donations, but fundraising isn't over yet. Keene said they still need to get the final $25,000. Anyone interested in donating money, tools, or their time through volunteering at the build, should contact the Monroe Playground Foundation.

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