Otsego Plays On!

Franfort Park, Otsego’s newest park, resides in the River Pointe neighborhood. This was one of the last park plans I was able to participate in while serving as chair on the Otsego Park and Rec. Commission. Commissioner SK (now chair) was the catalyst for making this park a reality. Her dedication, time, fiscal responsibility and ability to think consistently “outside the box” is a big factor of why this park is a reality. I recall the first time I met SK. She and a group of her neighbors came to a meeting. That’s not why I recall her though– that first meeting stands out because she is one of the few people that actually took time to write a thank you note after meeting with us.
Of course, with any project, it’s a group effort as many people are involved and some loom in the background, never seen. Thank you City of Otsego, the City Council, Staff and Park and Rec. Commission. In these tough economic times, it’s refreshing to see that our children, the health of all residents and preserving land is still a priority.
The boys loved the 5 and under section of the park. They teamed up with a few kids and played “ship” on the equipment.

Bounce, Bounce, Bounce! This was both boys favorite pieces of equipment at the park. Think of it as a pogo stick that stays in place.

One of the tallest slides we’ve ever encountered, minus the shoot slide at Elm Creek that is no longer there.

There were about 15 kids there and 4 adults while we played (on a 90-degree day!). The majority of them would play and then sit under the park shelter because there are not any mature trees here to provide any shade. That’s a pretty good daytime turn-out which indicates that this park really was a need.
Though we are excited about this new park, I feel a bit compelled to be an advocate for “real” play structures. We live in such a plastic society- toys and play structures abound- that when children get outdoors, it’s nice for kids to get back to nature, make a real, tangible connection and allow their imagination to take flight. It’s one of the reasons why I was so attracted to our children’s outdoor environment at their school.
A note about wooden structures: Many park districts and counties are removing wooden structures. Though many of us are bummed about this, it may be for a good reason. Most wood sold for outdoor use in the United States between 1975 and 2003 has been treated with chromated copper arsenate. One of the components of CCA-treated wood, arsenic, is a known human carcinogen. Over time, CCC-treated woods, such as those used in play structures, leaches out of the wood over time. Alternatives for using this wood to build play structures are: Composite Lumber, Plastic Lumber, Metal Constructed Playground Equipment and Naturally Decay-Resistant Wood. *To learn more, click on this link where information was retrieved from.

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