New state park playground equipment arrives; funds still needed.

December 20, 2017

Craig Rathke, Dan Adams and Alan Wernette carry a crated playground component from the truck to the storage area.

New state park playground equipment arrives; funds still needed.

HAMLIN TOWNSHIP — Santa’s helpers arrived at Ludington State Park Tuesday morning in the form of a semi-trailer loaded with playground equipment.

The equipment is for a new highly-accessible playground planned for construction in June, 2018. First, Friends of Ludington State Park must raise approximately $70,000 in funds more for surfacing and installation supervision.

Staff and volunteers gathered in front of the pallets of playground equipment. From left are park staff Paul Kiine, Manager Jim Gallie, Supervisor Dan Adams, Secretary Laura Sharpe, FLSP volunteers Craig Rathke, Michael Wheeler, Larry Lloyd, Gary Hearing, Bob Sasin and Park Interpreter Alan Wernette.

Ludington State Park staff and Friends of Ludington State Park volunteers unloaded the $125,0000 in GameTime equipment and stored it to await summer.

The non-profit 501(c)3 Friends of Ludington State Park took on the playground fundraising and volunteer construction project to fill a great need at the park. The playground, which will feature poured-in-place surfacing for enhanced safety and greater accessibility for all, will overall cost approximately $202,000 when completed.

Tuesday morning, FLSP President Bob Sasin attached a big red holiday bow to one of the 14 oversized pallets and shrink-wrapped packages of parts –assembly required – noting the equipment arrived in time for Christmas.

FLSP member volunteers Sasin, Craig Rathke, Larry Lloyd, Gary Hearing, Michael Wheeler and Steve Begnoche assisted park staff manager Jim Gallie, supervisor Dan Adams, rangers Paul Kline and Kevin Swygert and interpreter Alan Wernette with the unloading. Park secretary Laura Sharp, who has helped FLSP in many ways, also was on hand.

The two playscape playground will be located near the pavilion at the Hamlin Lake beach day use area. Currently, the playground at the area is more than 60 years old and consists only of a slide and swing set.

Support for the playground project so far includes grants from GameTime, the Community Foundation for Mason County, the foundation’s Youth Advisory Council, the Great Lakes Energy People Fund and a contribution from the Ludington Area Convention and Visitors Bureau for FLSP’s aid in providing volunteers for the annual Pure Ludington Brrrewfest. (The 2018 Pure Ludington Brrrewfest is Saturday, Jan. 27 at Ludington’s Rotary Park. Tickets are available from the CVB.)

 In addition, FLSP has contributed funds to the project and has received generous donations from many local individuals and park users and campers from around Michigan and outside the state.

Assembly required — FLSP Treasurer Craig Rathke and Ludington State Park Supervisor Dan Adams check out a pallet full of small parts and instructions for assembly of the playground components. A volunteer construction build supervised by Sinclair Recreation which led the design of the project is planned for June 2018, if the remaining necessary $70,000 is raised by spring.

With the impending changes in federal tax law, donations made in 2017 might have more tax advantage for many individuals, various analysts say.

Donations can be made by credit card online through the Community Foundation for Mason County website, www.mason-foundation.org. Look for the Friends of Ludington State Park playground project.

Checks made out to Friends of Ludington State Park, note playground project, can be mailed to FLSP, P.O. Box 123, Ludington, MI 49431.

Follow the progress on the Friends of Ludington State Park Facebook page.

Photos by Steve Begnoche.

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