Park gets new playground thanks to community support

Clarissa Kell | Daily Press From left to right, Spalding Township Supervisor Jim Moraska, Shelly Fazer and Rosalie Naser pose for a photo in front of the new playground equipment that was community-funded and community-assembled at the Veterans Memorial Park in Powers-Spalding Township Thursday. Rubber chips made from recycled tires surround the structure, making the playground safer and easily accessible.

SPALDING TOWNSHIP — After almost two years of planning and fundraising, the Veterans Memorial Park in Powers-Spalding Township has a new state of the art play structure for local and visiting children alike to enjoy. The playground was community-funded and community-assembled.

The initiative to update the playground area was worked on by a four-member committee made up of Township Supervisor Jim Moraska, Rosalie Naser, Shelly Fazer and Wendy Sexton.

“What I’d like to emphasize is that it was a community effort,” Moraska said.

The idea to start such an endeavor came from Fazer, who had visited her grandchildren in Milwaukee and saw a new Penchura play structure that was installed in a park.

“When my grandkids would come here, I was like, you know it would be nice if we could do something more with our park — our park is so gorgeous,” Fazer said.

Fazer asked Moraska about it and the project to get the funds to purchase the new structure began in October of 2017.

The total project cost $55,002, which was all made possible by grants and donations from organizations and individuals in the community.

The township itself paid for part of the purchase, but received grants from the Hannahville Indian ­Community 2 percent funds, the Central Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Regional Commission (CUPPAD), Weyerhaeuser, M&M Community Foundation, and Aquila Resources – Back Forty Mine. Donations were also received from the Sons Squadron, American Legion Post 244, the Powers-Spalding Lions Club, Superior Devil Dogs Bike Club, the village of Powers, Coleman Engineering, Normenco Sportsman’s Club, Kathy and Fred Wilkey CPA, and other members of the community.

The new play structure came from Penchura, LLC., of Livingston County, Mich. The committee contacted a local Manistique sales representative of Penchura to purchase the structure, Doug Smith.

The installation of the new equipment started on Saturday, June 22 and ended on Sunday, June 23.

Moraska explained the project would have cost an additional $10,000 to have everything installed, but instead the community came together and built it themselves.

Around 48 people showed up Saturday to set up the foundation, drill holes and begin building the structure. On Sunday, 17 people worked to complete the project.

“The majority of people that was there were residents,” Moraska said.

He explained they had worked from 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday with food provided by Fazers Foodland.

The playground was built from its foundation up by various members from local organizations, like the Powers-Spalding Lions Club, Legion Post 244, Sons of the Legion, Normenco Sportsman’s Club, the Legion Auxiliary, Superior Devil Dogs Bike Club, and other township residents.

According to Naser, Mike Gatien of Premium Mulch Supply in Powers brought equipment to the park to unload all of the parts to the play structure from the trucks.

“You should have seen the men down here — everybody gets out of their van or their pick-up truck and they had their tools with them and they had a shovel and a rake and they were just ready to go to work,” Naser said.

Moraska noted the building of the structure was supervised by Smith of Penchura and Pedro Lanaville of Lanaville Construction in Nadeau Township.

Now driving past the Veterans Memorial Park on U.S. 2, the new green and orange structure playground is hard to miss.

Naser noted she lives near the park and sees so much more activity there since its installation.

“You know what, it is so gratifying to see these kids playing on this stuff,” she said.

Moraska, Naser and Fazer expressed gratitude towards everyone who helped fund and install the playground structure.