New playground equipment gets high marks from young users

By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Timmy Mead thinks the new play structure at Don Marlin Kiddie Coral Park in Howard Township is cool.
The eight-year-old, who lives in Howard Township, also said the new play structure is fun.
Mead and several other children from Howard Township were using the new play structure on Tuesday afternoon, roughly a week after its completion.
Melanie Davis, a Howard Township Parks Board member, said the Howard Township Parks Board received $20,000 from the Howard Township Board of Trustees to purchase the new playground equipment.
She said the township board allocated the funds from the money received from Indeck Energy.
Will Rogers, a sales representative from Michigan Playgrounds, worked with the parks board to create the customized structure now in place at the park, she said.
The Challenger series play structure consists of two teeter totters, an oval crawl tube, a beanstalk climber, a hopscotch climber, an arch climber, two glide slides and two shaded platforms along with various stationary activities.
Davis said the playground has in the past often been used by Howard-Ellis Schools as a place for their end-of-year picnic.
But she also invites the community to visit the park and enjoy the new equipment.
Davis said the structure was selected to enhance the equipment currently on sight at the park.
The particular structure was also selected by the parks board with preschool aged children in mind.
McKayla Book, 9, lives in Howard Township but hadn't visited Kiddie Coral Park before Tuesday.
Enjoying the new teeter totters with her friend, Haley Davis, 10, Book said the new play structure is better than the old one.
Kiddie Coral, however, is only one out of five play grounds in Howard Township that parks board members are hoping to gradually improve by installing new playground equipment.
Gerald Harrison is chair of the Howard Township Parks Committee.
He said the committee will request $20,000 from the township board every year to be spent on taking the township's playgrounds up to standard.
As a result of increase in playground quality, he hopes the improved facilities will attract more children and families.
Total cost for the new play structure was $26,000, Harrison said.
Costs not covered by the $20,000 fund allocation was taken care of by local businesses who donated materials for the project and volunteers who donated their time to the project.
The parks board would like to thank Howard Township Board of Trustees, Kenneth Smith Inc. Janko Concrete, Jack Hopper Excavating, Watson's Tree Service and Larry Cochran and Bill Reed, both of Niles.
The four other township parks are Sholtey Park, Huntly Road, Jones Park, 1345 Barron Lake Road, Pepper Martin Park, 2447 Lone Elm St., Hatcherville Park on Hatcherville Avenue and Don Martin Kiddie Coral Park, 1400 Barron Lake Road.

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