Work for play

Webster City Lions Club revitalizing public park

The Webster City Lions Club is in the process of revamping Lions Stafford Park. The service club has been working on this project since the beginning of 2016. The club held their first event to raise awareness in the community about revitalizing the park in April of 2016.

“Jade (Williams, Webster City Lions Club member) had the idea for her service learning project while finishing her masters degree,” said Ryan Williams, Webster City Lions Club member. “It was something we thought the Lions Club as well as the community as a whole would get behind so we presented it to the club and it has moved forward from there.”

According to Williams, this is the only city park on the West side of Webster City and “has not seen updating since it’s inception in the 70’s.”

A safe place to play is a valuable part of any community according to Williams.

“Parks and recreation areas are extremely important for small towns to attract and retain residents and with expansion and job growth happening in the very near future we will be vying for our share of those new residents, said Williams. “In addition, the existing playground equipment is unsafe and not accessible to all. Our plans for an all inclusive park will make Lions Park one of the few in the state which will make it a destination for people from other communities as well.”

The proposed playground equipment has been designed for use by children of all ages and abilities. According to Williams, careful thought has gone into the design and selection of materials.

A few examples include ground level play areas, the use of ramps rather than stairs for wheelchair accessibility or anyone with mobility issues, and the addition of a metal slide to reduce static that may affect children who have a cochlear implant.

The first stage of the project is placing a sign at the park and creating some landscaping.

“The initial phase of the project is replacing signs, playground equipment, and improving the landscaping, said Ryan Williams. “The city covered the signs which will be going in very soon.”

The second stage is the obtaining and placing swing sets. The third step in the project will be the actual big playground equipment which will cost an estimated $73,500.

The Lions Club has already started fundraising and has an account set up for donations to the park.

“We’ve done several fundraising events and have also received private donations which have totaled over $5,000 so far,” said Williams.

“The club has opened an account at First American Bank for park donations,” said organizer Jade Williams. “If anyone would like to donate, they can make a personal or business donation by going into First American Bank.”

Donations can be anonymous. Those who wish to donate can also contact a Webster City Lions Club member.

“We are also accepting any suggestions or feedback from the community,” said Williams.

The Webster City Lions Club applied for H/M Tax Grant monies and presented why they were requesting funds last December at the H/M Tax Board meeting. The Webster City Lions Club requested $35,000 for the Lions Park revitalization. The first phase of the plan involves buying the playground equipment. The $35,000 will go fully to phase one of the Lions Club’s project. The City Council of Webster City approved the request for the full $35,000 during their Dec. 19 meeting.

According to Williams the club is awaiting another grant decision from Enhance Hamilton County which, if approved, would put them over the top to be able to break ground on phase 1 this spring. Once the club learns the outcome of the Enhance Hamilton County grant they will announce their plans for future fundraising events in the community.

“If funding falls into place we plan to have Phase 1 complete before summer 2017. If we’re able to accomplish that we’ll get to work right away on the next phases which would include a shelter, resurfacing and new hoops for the basketball court, and additional playground equipment. The total project will likely span several years,” Williams said.

The group has also talked with the Master Gardener’s Club in regards to improving the landscaping which they hope to have done in the spring as well.

Williams believes this park will benefit the whole community, especially families who are looking for a safe place to place and enjoy what Webster City has to offer.

“We grew up in WC in this neighborhood and are now raising our daughter here as well,” Williams said. “A tangible project like this where you can see your family and others in the community enjoying the end result is something that’s easy to get behind.”

For more information about the project contact Jade Williams at 515-297-2778, Ryan Williams 515-297-2455 or any Lions Member.


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