By Wendy Nugent, Harvey County Now
NORTH NEWTON—Michael Zimmerman did a lot more jumping and climbing Friday afternoon than other kids did in the park on Goldenrod in North Newton.
He jumped off a swing, climbed atop the cover of a slide and zoomed across the monkey bars. He and the other boys and girls were among some of the first to try out the new playground equipment, there.
The equipment and rubber mulch surrounding the equipment are new this year, as is the equipment in another North Newton park on Lakewood Drive, unofficially called Campus Woods Park.
The kids playing at the Goldenrod playground, called the Goldenrod Tot Lot, were happy with the new equipment and enjoyed it. At least one of the kids, Oliver Bookout, wasn’t very happy about the old bridge with the other older equipment, which was made of wood.
“The other one had a rattling old bridge,” the 5-year-old said. “It was just a dirty old stinky drawbridge.”
Another youngster, Katlyn Schmidt, said she lives near the park.
“It’s really nice,” she said. “It has lots of equipment and it’s real fun to play on.”
She said the other equipment was made of wood and it also was fun, but she likes the new equipment better.
Irelyn Bookout also enjoys the new equipment and said her grandparents reside in the park’s vicinity.
“Mostly the swings and the slides,” she said about what she enjoys.
Oliver Bookout likes the play gears on the largest piece of equipment. One can turn a handle and make them spin together.
Construction on the equipment started a little more than two weeks ago, North Newton City Councilman Dennis Campbell said.
“The city tore the old park down here the first of March,” he said, adding the new equipment was to go in the last of March, but weather and shipping delays because of the pandemic delayed it.
They still have plans for the two parks.
“We’re gonna put in a shade structure in both parks and a picnic table,” Campbell said.
The equipment for children ages 2-5 years old is at Campus Woods Park, while equipment for older kids, ages 5-12, is on Goldenrod.
“It’s a much bigger area,” Campbell said about the Goldenrod park. “As time goes by, we can add more equipment.”
The Lakewood park is new, while the one on Goldenrod was established in the 1990s, Campbell said.
“It was all 4×4 wood structure,” Campbell said.
The cost of equipment at the Goldenrod park and mulch was $70,000, while the other park ran around $40,000. The recycled rubber mulch was about a third of that cost.
“It’s all recycled tires,” Campbell said. “There’s no metal in there. There’s 40,000 pounds of rubber at this park here and there’s 30,000 at the other one.”
The rubber mulch is a rusty orange color and isn’t supposed to get too hot.
“It’s soft,” Campbell said, adding children won’t come home with sand in their shoes or between their toes. “It’s safe to fall on,” he said, adding one can find tire names in the mulch.
The other playground will be opened as soon as a fence is installed.
Several moms in town, Marrisa Murphy, Addi Voth and Leah Gaeddert, requested the project, and Murphy was the leader, Campbell said, adding anyone can use the park.