The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

July 4, 2013

Benson playground not part of plan

City was initially going to wait for more expensive playground

(Continued)

Norland said the playground was purchased last year, and was initially going to be placed in the southwest part of the park. But residents of nearby townhomes were concerned about the noise a playground would bring, Norland said. So the city looked to the spot where the wood playground was initially planned to be installed.

Though she hasn’t seen it, Norland said she’s been told the playground is green and brown — not a bright neon color that would clash with the natural setting.

Park committee member Scott Thiem said the nearby parents have a strong argument for installing the equipment.

But he said it doesn’t fit the plan and would have preferred to wait. And he’s not sure why the equipment was bought at all last year, because the committee is, as Norland put it Monday, “on hiatus.”

Thiem said the park’s master plan was adopted in 2009, but a lack of funding has delayed the playground, bathrooms, shelter area, oak savannah and other amenities.

“We haven’t gotten very far and mainly because of the funding,” Thiem said.

Norland said a fundraising group for the park is being formed, and the city will continue to make requests for Legacy funding.

At least one other committee member didn’t agree with the change, Norland said, though she declined to name the person.

The new playground is expected to be installed in about two weeks, Mayor Mark Dehen, who helped lead this effort, said Monday.

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