The ambition behind La Crescent-Hokah senior Andrea Grunwald’s Girl Scout Gold Award project is to make her local neighborhood park accessible once again.

The renovation of Crescent Valley Park is a personal undertaking for Grunwald, who has lived directly across from the park since she was 5-years-old.

“I spent a lot of my childhood at the park,” Grunwald said. “So seeing it this way — it just hurts. It’s not even structurally safe anymore.”

She referred to the current state of the park as “terrible,” and said that when she was younger there was a balcony attached to the current playground equipment with a slide and monkey bars attached to it. She said that when a crack appeared in the slide years ago, the entire balcony was removed. Now the equipment just features a few swings at a steep height and a tattered tire swing.

“It was used a lot more than it is now,” Grunwald said of the park’s equipment. “And the swings were at a height that kids could actually access them.”

Under Grunwald’s Girl Scout Gold Award project plan, Crescent Valley Park will be renovated from its current state to one that kids can enjoy. The old playground apparatus will be torn down and replaced with new equipment that has five swings (two normal, one bucket, one toddler and one tire) and a slide. The park will also include a pollinator garden, Little Free Library and a bike rack. The total cost of the project will be around $11,000 and has received the backing of the city council.

In the summer of 2016 the La Crescent Township relinquished Crescent Valley Park to the city. City Administrator Bill Waller voiced commitment to improve the park’s playground equipment with funds from the 2017 Capital Equipment Certificate.

Grunwald, who’ll be attending UW-La Crosse next fall, surveyed the neighborhood to ask residents for their input on what color palette and type of slide they would like to see in the renovated park, and fielded 57 votes. She said almost everyone she spoke to was supportive of the park’s renovation. La Crescent resident John Just plans to build the Little Free Library and Grunwald and her dad will be building the bike rack.

Crescent Valley Park’s renovation is scheduled to be finished sometime this summer.

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