The dates have been set for the third and final phase of the Dream Playground Re-Imagined build at Lake Manawa State Park.
Lynne Branigan, who heads the Dream Playground core committee, said the five-day Phase 3 building dates will be Sept. 4 through Sept. 8.
A primary reason the Dream Playground build was not completed during Phase Two from July 24 through July 29 of the building project was a major fire in Carrolton, Georgia, that destroyed six slides and 10 ADA-approved plastic activity panels as well as other equipment that will be part of the renovated and expanded playground facility.
The fire, which also destroyed the molds used to manufacture the slides and activity panels, occurred the week the parts for Council Bluffs playground were to have been picked up for shipment here.
“We’re grateful that the factory’s parent company was able to provide the replacements for equipment lost in the fire in a rather quick manner and that the design team had an opening in their schedule to come back and help us complete the project,” Branigan said.
Branigan said roughly the same number of volunteers — 210 — will be needed daily to complete the project during Phase 3.
“Before, we were asking people to sign up to work 4-hour shifts, but that proved difficult for many,” she said. “This time, we’re asking people to come to the park and help for as long as they can — to come after work during the week.”
Construction hours will be the same for Phase 3 as they were for Phase 2, starting at 8 a.m. and continuing until 8 p.m. As was the case during Phase 2, food will be provided for volunteers.
Most of the “heavy” work has been completed, but organizers still need volunteers with a broad array of skills, Branigan said.
“Just show up for as long as you can, as often as you can, and we’ll find something that you can help with.”
Branigan said that anyone who works during Phase 3 will be given a coupon that will allow them to bring their family members to a “soft opening” that will occcur after the build is completed — date to be determined.
“It will give volunteers an opportunity to show their kids what they did to help build the ‘re-imagined’ playground and let their kids play on the playground when the crowd will be much smaller,” she said.
Construction is slated to be completed and checked for ADA compliance on Saturday, Sept. 8. Following completion of the construction, an outside contractor will need about four days to install the rubber surface of the playground, with an additional four days needed for the rubber material to cure.
Dates for the soft opening for volunteers and the grand opening for area residents will be announced after the rubber playground surface has been installed and allowed to cure.
In October 1992, the Iowa DNR asked the Council Bluffs Jaycees to spearhead an effort to build a playground on land within Lake Manawa State Park.
In March 1993, a design architect visited students at local schools, and sketched a design based on their ideas. The “Dream Playground” became reality with help of more than 1,700 volunteers in just 5 days from August 25-29, 1993.
The entire project was organized, funded and built by the community. Volunteers ranged from age 3 to 93 and encompassed all skill levels. The playground grand opening was celebrated with a hog roast to thank all the volunteers.