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Valplayso timetable unveiled

Artist's rendering new Valplayso park. | submitted

Artist's rendering of the new Valplayso park. | submitted

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Updated: August 31, 2014 6:02AM



VALPARAISO — The city’s parks and recreation department is $150,000 short of its goal to raise $800,000 by Aug. 5 to rebuild Valplayso Park.

The department would like to attain the goal to make sure everything’s in place when volunteers come to rebuild the park from Oct. 6 to 12, department Superintendent John Seibert said.

“It’s a while until October, but we’ve got benchmarks we need to keep hitting,” Seibert said.

That includes having 600 volunteers ready to go by Aug. 5. If all who indicated they’d sign up had done so, the project would have 1,000 volunteers, and Seibert expects to eventually have more than the 2,300 in 1994 when the park was created.

He said people will start seeing changes at the park.

On Thursday, the parks will have a picnic with Valparaiso firefighters at the park, the last special event, and Aug. 1 will be the last day anyone can play at the current park.

On Aug. 2, volunteer construction crews will remove equipment and the wall of children’s handprints, then remove the old equipment that the parks will not keep.

The department has been planning the revamping of Valplayso since January 2013, but public participation intensified a year later.

The equipment contractor, Leathers and Associates, got input from all city grade schoolers on what they wanted in the park Jan. 30.

Residents’ involvement in the community-built park has increased since.

Board Member Ric Frataccia said he didn’t think he’d see the 1994 level of community involvement again.

The department has begun selling 500 plastic pickets around the park that, for $40, will have up to 20 characters on them and have begun selling the faceplates that will replace the handprints this incarnation of the park.

Photos laser-engraved on metal sell from $100 to $600 through the parks department website.

The parks department will also hold a benefit at Rogers Lakewood Park on Aug. 16 and numerous car washes and fundraisers.



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