WEST LIBERTY, Iowa–Though summer has started to wind down, the fun has just heated up for kids in West Liberty. After two years of work, the West Liberty Parks and Recreation Department will finish up their improvements to Kimberly Park. Soon, West Liberty’s oldest park will have some of the newest recreation equipment for kids of all ages to enjoy.
In 2019, Parks and Recreation identified that they wanted to replace the park’s aging playground equipment and set a goal to raise $200,000 to replace it. Thanks to the hard work of the Parks and Recreation Board Fundraising Committee, led by Megan Zalzala, the project raised $225,000 in under a year. “I was definitely not expecting to purchase equipment at the end of last year,” recalls Parks and Recreation Director Nick Heath.
Using these funds, Parks and Recreation purchased several playground equipment arrays that Heath described as all inclusive. These will feature an area of playground equipment well suited to children ages two through five, swings for children of different ages and ability levels, and a larger stand of playground equipment with activities underneath it that children in wheelchairs can easily access.
Over the course of the summer, crews removed all of Kimberly Park’s aging equipment, which included pieces from the 1970’s as well as mismatched stand alone equipment placed between 20 and 25 years ago. They then placed the new equipment, and All American Concrete of West Liberty poured the sub-base flooring in preparation for installing a rubberized non-slip surface. As a final step, Parks and Recreation will install several benches to honor the businesses and families that helped support the project. Currently, Heath believes the park will reopen near the end of August.
As Kimberly Park prepares to reopen to the community, Heath feels pleased by the improvements his department has made. “It’s probably one of my proudest moments as Park Director,” he said.