Kat Schaefer had always wanted a nearby playground for her four kids to walk to from her home on Chestnut Avenue. Saturday, her wish was granted. Volunteers from the Firefighters’ Association and the got together to build a new playground at North Park.

Kat Schaefer’s dream of a park for her four kids to walk to from her home on was fulfilled.

The project was truly a community effort that began with a letter Schaefer wrote to several years ago.  She asked if the City could build a playground at to accommodate the children who lived in the nearby neighborhoods.

Schaefer says Tetley responded quickly and explained the process for funding and building a playground – a process that involves planning, budgeting and balancing other City needs. In other words, a process that takes time.

“She addressed all my concerns and did a great job of getting me to understand how things work,” says Schaefer.  “The conversation made me feel confident that the City listened to my concerns.”

In the meantime, Schaefer says the City put in a crosswalk at and Park Avenues so that children could cross the street safely to get to Oak Park, the nearest playground at the time.

The playground was not forgotten, however, and through planning, and an anonymous donation of $20,000, it finally became reality. To keep the costs down, the Firefighters’ Association agreed to lead the build project with community volunteers – the Schaefer family were among them.

Schaefer says she is thrilled to have the new, nearby recreation option for her kids.

“What could be better than a playground built by City firemen,” she says. “One of the best things about living in a small community like is having a say in how things work.”