Laurens park gets new playground equipment

LAURENS – The children of Laurens will have a new way to pass time the fun way by the end of this week thanks to new playground equipment in the city’s park.

The equipment, which includes a miniature fire truck and a slide, was installed as a result of a project by the Laurens Hometown Pride Committee.

Laurens City Manager Barb Smith, who also serves on the Hometown Pride Committee, said the idea came about after realizing there wasn’t anything in the park for very young children.

“There was some equipment there, but not for younger kids,” she said. “This is geared more towards them.”

The equipment was installed on Saturday. Smith said that with the help of volunteers the work got done much quicker than was expected.

“The supervisor figured we’d start in the morning and last until two in the afternoon,” she said. “It took about two hours.”

A total of 47 volunteers helped get the equipment installed. Smith said all that remains is to pour the concrete, which is set to happen today.

“Nobody’s been able to play on it yet,” she said. “We need to wait for the concrete to set and then it should be ready to go.”

Smith said the money for the equipment came from donations.

“Part of it was from the Pocahontas Community Foundation grant, and part of it was donated from the Laurens Kiwanis Club,” Smith said. “Our volunteer firefighters also took up donations in memory of our emergency management director.”

Laurens’ former emergency management director, Tim McKiernan, died in 2012.

“Tim’s wife matched what the firefighters came up with, and that’s where the red firetruck came from,” Smith said. “We all partnered together to buy all the pieces.”

The playground equipment installation is just one of many projects the Hometown Pride Committee takes part in, Smith said.

“We’ve purchased recycled benches with a grant,” she said. “We received the Keep Iowa Beautiful Community Beautification Grant to purchase recycling bins for residents, and we’ve also bought planters and two receptacles in the downtown area.”

Two of the benches will be installed in the park.

“The other four went to the Laurens-Marathon school,” she said. “The kids can sit and enjoy being outside while they’re waiting for a ride.”