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Local park equipment gets a second life in Haiti

The current park equipment at the Family Resource Center will be donated to a non-profit called Kids Around the World. New equipment will be installed at the end of October.

Some Rosemount playground equipment that has seen better days will get refurbished and enjoy a second life in Haiti.

The playground equipment at the Family Resource Center will be removed in early October to make way for new equipment. An organization called Kids Around the World will remove the equipment at their cost and then refurbish it. The company will then put it up in Haiti.

Parks director Dan Schultz said donating the equipment is a win-win situation. The city will save the cost of tearing down and disposing of the equipment and Kids Around the World will have an inexpensive set to put to good use somewhere else.

"It's an inexpensive way to remove and reuse the equipment and it will have a positive impact somewhere else," said Schultz.

After the equipment is removed from Rosemount it will travel to Chicago, where it will be refurbished. The equipment will then travel to Haiti, where it will be installed and used by children there.

Schultz said the Family Resource Center equipment has been heavily used and the parks board felt it was time to replace it. A $45,000 grant from the Dakota County Community Development Agency will pay to replace the play equipment.

Due to the condition of the set Schultz said city staff didn't recommend reusing it in the city.

"That equipment had a high level of use," said Schultz. "The wear and tear of daily use has taken its toll."

However, Schultz said Kids Around the World has the know-how and connections to refurbish the aging set. The organization will sign an agreement that the city is not responsible for the equipment after it's been removed.

Schultz heard about the non-profit from other cities that have worked with them.

Kids Around the World was founded in 1994 through the combined efforts of several businessmen. Their goal at that time was to provide safe play equipment for children that found themselves in situations where it was difficult to just be a kid. Often children find themselves victims of situations out of their control and become victims of economic stress, victims of political injustice, victims of natural disasters and victims of war.

New playground equipment will be put in at the Family Resource Center at the end of October. Schultz said the parks board is still deciding exactly what to put into the heavily used park.

Due to a higher number of vandalism complaints at that park Schultz said they are trying to install high-visibility equipment.

The parks and recreation board will make a decision on the equipment at its Sept. 27 meeting.

Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
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