Whistlestop Playground rolls into Spring Lake

Marie Havenga • Jun 2, 2017 at 11:00 AM

The new Whistlestop Playground is beginning to take shape, with the help of Shape Corp. employees.

Shape employees spent two days this week turning socket wrenches and lifting and leveling pieces of the new train-themed playground along Spring Lake’s Lakeside Trail, between Park and Division streets.

Shape employee Chris Koppenaal leveled a colorful slide.

“It's a building community event,” he said. “We all live around here, so it's cool to be able to contribute.”

Co-workers Jon Emery and Jeanne Vezino worked on railing.

“It's better than being at the office,” Vezino said. “It's great to give back to the community.”

Emery said his two sons, ages 7 and 9, are excited to try out the new playground equipment.

“It's a lot of fun to do something like this,” Emery said.

Emery and Vezino even took a break from their assembly tasks to try out the park’s new merry-go-round.

“We had to make sure it's safe,” said Emery, laughing.

Village Councilwoman Megan Doss, who headed up fundraising for the $150,000 project, said she's thrilled with how it's coming together.

“The colors, the train, the amazing merry-go-round, this park has been transformed,” Doss said. “I am thrilled beyond words to be part of this journey.”

Doss said residents, friends, businesses, neighboring communities and donor-advised funds from the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation helped fund the project.

“I am not surprised at everyone's generosity,” she said. “It is our culture living in Northwest Ottawa County to be generous. I am just truly grateful. Shape Corp. partnered with the Village of Spring Lake and gave us two days of hard-working, talented employees to help build our playground.”

A ribbon-cutting ceremony and official opening is scheduled for 4 p.m. June 12.

The previous playground on that site was removed in 2015 due to deteriorating equipment that was deemed unsafe.

Village Manager Chris Burns said she's impressed with the project.

“It's exciting,” she said. “It's a real quality product. The colors just pop down there.”

Burns noted that no taxpayer dollars were used for the playground.

“It was all raised through donations,” she said. “Some very generous philanthropic people made it happen. I don't even have young kids, but it's still exciting.”

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