Waterloo playground construction extended, more volunteers needed

The Town of Waterloo is working diligently to rebuild a beloved playground in Francis Thomson Memorial Park rebounding from a fire in late March.

WATERLOO, Ind. (WANE) Construction on the new playground in Waterloo to replace one that had been burned to the ground in March has been extended through the weekend.

The town had planned to unveil the new playground at Francis Thomson Memorial Park along West Van Vleek Street with a ribbon cutting on Friday, but Town Manager Tena Woenker said just after 3 p.m. that the town would extend construction through Sunday.

The town has taken construction on the playground on itself, calling on volunteers to work in shifts to raise the playground. The town offered volunteers breakfast, lunch and dinner with food donated by local restaurants, churches and community members, and free childcare available at New Hope Church for toddlers to 13-year-olds.

On the final push, Woenker said the town needs dozens more volunteers working through the weekend.

“Every volunteer can make a difference,” Woenker said.

Ed McDowd, volunteer chairman of the construction, said there are no requirements for skill level or ability, but volunteers must be at least 14 years old.

Volunteers should come in person to Francis Thomson Memorial Park at 340 W. Van Vleek St.

The work is going to replace the old sprawling wooden playground, which was accidentally burned to the ground in March by boys playing, according to police.

Even after construction on the playground is complete, the park won’t officially open until mid-October. The playground’s new surface – a poured rubber contributed by Anthony Wayne Foundation of Fort Wayne – must still be installed.

At that point, the town will hold a ribbon cutting celebration and grand opening.

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