All aboard the Whistlestop Playground

Marie Havenga • Jun 13, 2017 at 10:00 AM

Spring Lake Village leaders dedicated the new Whistlestop Playground on Monday afternoon with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, pig roast and lots of playing.

Before the blue ribbon even got chopped, kids were twirling on the merry-go-round, romping on the ropes, and sliding down the huge and colorful train-themed apparatus that stands on the site of the former Interurban Railway.

The playground has been two years in the making after former playground equipment at that site became old and unsafe for play. Residents, philanthropists and foundations chipped in $150,000 to make it a reality.

No taxpayer dollars were used for the project. Shape Corp. employees donated time toward construction.

The playground includes a soft and spongy playing surface and a train with slides dubbed The Jackson Express. It is alongside the Lakeside Trail bike path between Jackson and Park streets, a half-block north of Savidge Street.

Village Councilwoman Megan Doss, who also serves on the village’s Parks and Recreation Committee, spearheaded fundraising for the project.

“It’s so exciting,” Village Manager Chris Burns said at Monday’s dedication. “All of Megan’s hard work paid off.”

Jenny Grams watched her 1-year-old daughter navigate the playground Monday.

“I like all the colors and I like the squishy base,” Grams said.

Kari Brecht of Spring Lake said she and her children — Carson, 7, and Payton, 5 — have been counting the days until the playground opened.

“They have been waiting and waiting,” Brecht said. “We live right down the road. We’ve been anticipating it. We walk by every day.”


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