MINGO – Only the morning after being completed, several Mingo kids bundled up Nov. 22 to check out the latest addition to their local hangout spot at Railroad and East streets.
After nine years of fundraising, the city park in Mingo finished the installation of a new playground.
“I like the two big slides. It is really fun,” 14-year-old Kiley Brown said. “We go to the library a lot and sometimes we stop by the park. I probably go once a week.”
Back in 2008, the Mingo Parks & Recreation Committee wanted to bring back the Mingo Day’s celebration to the community after years on hiatus. The small of group of volunteers wanted the town festival to leave a lasting impression on the city even after the festivities concluded.
Naturally, the Mingo Parks & Recreation Committee decided to use the annual celebration to fundraise for a new park.
“Our park equipment, I believe, some of it came from the old Mingo school, after the school district combined (with Colfax). A lot of those pieces are over 30 years old,” Emily Perry, Parks & Recreation Committee member said. “It was time for our kids to have a new playground.”
The new playground features four unique slides, monkey bars and a rock climbing wall stands at the park.
“There is this yellow thing where you can climb up,” 9-year-old Liam Smith said. “It is my second favorite thing ... It feels like you’re going to fall.”
In addition to the colorful playground feature, wood chips, a grounds cover and a border to contain it all were added to the park.
“We love to walk to the park. Even with the outdated equipment, the kids loved it,” Perry, mother of three, said. “It is going to give us a peace of mind knowing that the equipment is a little safer and that we can let them run around a little bit more, without us having to hover.”
Through community fundraisers and events, such as Mingo Days, the park raised about $13,250. With the addition of donations and grants of $14,750 from the Jasper Community Foundation, $5,000 of Mingo Development Corporation, $500 Mingo Men’s Club and $500 from IMT Insurance, the group was able to purchase the new playground equipment Oct. 25.
Soon after, the installation of the new playground began, and was completed Nov. 21.
Despite the recent chilly weather, the Mingo children have been playing at the park since.
“My favorite part of it is the slides, mostly the weird twisty ones. You come down and it is a cool view, and it is super slippery,” Liam said. “Kiley probably wasn’t on it a lot because her butt was cold.”
The kids at the park said the new playground piece is a fun addition to the standing slide and merry-go-round that currently reside at the park. They said they are just glad to have another fun thing to play with their friends.
“It is really cool that we have a place to take a break and play,” Brown said. “(Liam) is probably going to be here all day.”
The organizers said the new playground will not only benefit the children and families in Mingo. Due to the proximity of the Chichaqua Valley Trail, bikers and visitors will have a nice place to take a break when they are passing through Mingo.
Perry said several area organizations helped in the installation of the equipment. Those include Mingo Products, Inc., Adult and Teen Challenge of the Midlands, Liberty Concrete, LCI Distribution, Mingo Hometown Pride and Jasper County Conservation.
Casey’s General Store and Subway also provided meals for the installers, according to Perry.
The Mingo resident said their work at the park is not done. The volunteer group plans to add a new swing set with a handicap swing and a specialized baby swing, and a playground set for toddlers by next year.
“I am very proud of Mingo and the community how we are so loyal to each other, stand by each other and are so neighborly. I think it will be really great that they will have a big draw and a legacy for their kids,” Perry said “We have been slowly and steadily and doing step by step ... My kids will grow up in this park.”
Contact Anthony Victor Reyes at firstname.lastname@example.org