Upgrades for play: New play equipment for South Range and Hancock

SOUTH RANGE — After setbacks earlier this year due to flooding, the new village playground equipment will be assembled by the end of the day today.

The equipment, located between 6th and 7th Street and consists of a traditional playground set and a “fitness cluster.” Volunteers began assembling the sets Thursday and will wrap things up later today.

“We are extremely fortunate to be able to provide such a nice playground and fitness area to our residents,” said Village President Justin Marier, one of the build volunteers.

A passport grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources was key to the project.

“It’s been great to see our community members and Michigan Tech students come together to volunteer to help us make it happen. It just goes to show that people really do still want to make a difference in their community and it’s a real honor to be a part of it. The playground will surely provide lots of healthy, outdoor fun for our neighborhood children for years to come,” he said.

MTU student and volunteer Owen Soulliere, also on site, said he was enjoying working on the project, his way of helping the community while he had “nothing better to do.”

“One of the guys, his son rode over on a bike. It’s cool to see people giving back right where they live,” Soulliere said.

Juan and Lisa Bradford from Miracle Recreation Equipment Company were directing the project volunteers and plan to do so again with the equipment in Hancock.

The Bradfords helped the volunteers get started, charting out where the pieces will go.

“When you first do it it’s just so many pieces and parts. It’s just kind of overwhelming when you see all the parts that go together,” Juan Bradford said.

Once the wood chips are down the park will be ready for kids to play.

Across the canal, the city of Hancock has three pieces of playground equipment, one per park. It’s just a matter of putting them up, said City Manager Glenn Anderson.

The Bradfords will help assemble one of the pieces on Sunday and Monday.

“We’re not going to be able to build the whole thing, but we’re at least going to help them and get them started,” Bradford said. “…It’s a lot of fun, builds great community pride. People take ownership of it because they’ve worked hard on it.”

Volunteers are still needed for the Hancock build. The playgrounds are designated for Terrace Park, 3rd Street Park and Montezuma Park but might not all be completed this year.

Playgrounds for the Driving Park and at the Campground are also in the works.