New life for park

Andrea Grunwald receives thanks from La Crescent Mayor Mike Poellinger for her work restoring the park in Crescent Valley.

In 2017, the playground in Crescent Valley became more of an eyesore than an asset to the development.

When the city of La Crescent took over the park area, officials determined the slide was no longer safe and the tire swing was an injury risk. But removing the swing and slide meant there was nowhere for small children to play.

Andrea Grunwald had played on some of the equipment while growing up and wanted to restore the park.

Andrea had been involved in Girl Scouting for many years and wanted to achieve the Gold Award — the most prestigious award in Girl Scouting and a reflection of the individual’s dedication to bettering not only herself but also the world in which she lives.

Developing the idea with her parents, Kurt and Sandy, Andrea took the idea to Bill Waller, La Crescent’s engineer, then the City Council and eventually the Park and Recreation Department.

She also needed the blessing of the Badgerland Girl Scout Council to be considered worthy of a Gold Award.

Once the project was approved by all entities, a budget was established and Andrea had $10,000 to make her dream come true. Andrea received some input from Crescent Valley residents about the type of slide and its color. Once completed, Andrea worked with the city to order the supports, slides and swings.

Installation by the city was delayed due to the wet spring, but the park finally became a reality in the midsummer. In addition to the playground equipment, an area is being set aside for a future pollinator garden that will have plants and flowers that will provide habitat for bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.

She received help from neighbors, too. John Just came up with the idea of building a bench for moms and dads to use while children play. He also built a “Little Free Library” that would benefit not only the children but also the adults in the development. John Lambert, head of maintenance School District 300, assisted with the concrete work and installation of the bench and little library.

Crescent Valley residents celebrated the opening of the park last month.

Sheryl Robinson, a Badgerland adviser, also attended, saying there was “no question that this project met all of the standards and requirements for a Gold Award.”

The park is not only a beautiful asset for the Crescent Valley but the entire La Crescent Community and it all started with a Gold idea.

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