Unique swings installed at parks

Deborah Prescott | Daily Press Addie Peterson and Chase Larche swing on one of two new expression swings in Ludington Park Wednesday afternoon. The GFWC Escanaba Women’s Club donated the expression swings to the City of Escanaba last February. The City of Gladstone received one expression swing and will install it at a later date. An adult and child sit on the swing facing each other. An intergenerational play experience provides cognitive, emotional and physical benefits to both adult and child.

ESCANABA — Two expression swings were installed recently in Escanaba’s Ludington Park. The swings were donated by the General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC) of Escanaba.

An expression swing allows an adult and child to interact face to face while tandem swinging. One side has a bucket seat for the child to sit in and the other half of the connected swing has a comfortable seat for an adult.

The idea to bring the swings to Escanaba came from GFWC Escanaba Woman’s Club President Kay Johnson.

Johnson took her granddaughter to a playground while in Appleton, Wis., and came across an expression swing. Johnson had never seen one before and decided to give it a try with her granddaughter.

“It was so enjoyable looking into her face as we were swinging back and forth, both laughing and looking at each other,” said Johnson. “I felt more safe with her by me. The swing was just a lot of fun.”

Johnson wanted to bring the swing to Escanaba and took the idea to the GFWC board. They used funds raised during the group’s charity ball. She also contacted the City of Appleton’s recreation director, who shared swing specifications and information with the City of Escanaba Recreation Director Kim Peterson.

“The swings were installed the second week of February by Escanaba Public Works employees who also reviewed the safety instructions,” said Peterson. “The city didn’t put any money into the swings, completely paid for by the women’s group.”

There are two ways the expression swing can be mounted, either attached to an overhead support or with a companion frame. The swing frames must be assembled outside and installed in concrete footings. Swing structures must be able to support weight in motion.

“We may get more,” said Johnson. “We have had such a positive response…”

City of Gladstone Recreation Director Nicole Sanderson will receive one of the three swings to install at a Gladstone park when a location is decided.

“It’s satisfying to work together for the better of the community,” said Johnson.

The GFWC Escanaba Woman’s Club organized in 1913 and currently has 80 members. The club supports many children events through the year. They meet once a month between September and May.

On May 16 at 11:30 a.m. at the Escanaba Country Club the club is having its last meeting of the season.

“We are honoring local women who have served in our military,” said Johnson. “Our guest speaker is Marcia Gracie Short and there will be four to six other women being honored for their service. It is a chance for our group to hear the stories of these women and show our appreciation.”

To find out more information about the GFWC Escanaba Woman’s Club go to their Facebook page – GFWC Escanaba.

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