We formed Park Partners because we saw the need for improved playground equipment in Chatfield’s City Park. We’ve all visited the park and noticed the deterioration of the equipment now there. The seesaws are gone because they weren’t safe, the climbing gym is partially boarded up and the playing surfaces are not up to code to protect against falls – and this names just a few of the problems (see a comparison). But probably most importantly, we’ve looked at our playground objectively and saw the image it portrays to any visitors. It’s time for new equipment!

Our kids deserve better equipment that’s safe, fun and accessible by children of all abilities. Unfortunately, our city’s budget is too tight to afford a new playground. So it’s up to us! We believe Chatfield can provide the inspiration, the funding and the elbow grease to make it happen. We know that together we can create a playground that will be a source of community pride and a gathering place for families from near and far.

For months we explored parks around our area – Rushford, Stewartville, Rochester, Lanesboro and beyond. Our favorite is Soldier’s Field Park in Rochester. It fits well into its surroundings, it’s filled with fun and challenging play areas for all kids and was completely built by members of the community!

Once we found a park we liked, we met with the Soldier’s Field co-chair, Tim Petersen. He gave us all the background from when they built their park and has helped us along this beginning process. Tim is so excited to work on a playground again – he’s already volunteered to come for our build! And he highly recommends working with Leathers & Associates, the design firm behind Soldier’s Field Park.

Leathers & Associates is a family-owned company that for over 30 years has designed playgrounds across America and around the world! They’ve been featured in Smithsonian Magazine, CBS News and on Sesame Street. Best of all, they’ve created a system that with their guidance allows us to build the playground ourselves. This saves us nearly two-thirds the cost of traditional park systems and gives our community a great project to work on together. And when we’re done we’ll have a one-of-a-kind playground designed and built by our own community. One that will last for years and years – what a fantastic source of Chatfield Pride!!