Build begins

Volunteers worked Thursday to set posts for the playground rebuild at Cooper Park.

Park district's rebuild project underway at Cooper Park

ROCHELLE – Day one of the Cooper Park Kids Ground Rebuild got underway on Thursday and workers are not letting Wednesday night’s rain slow them down.


Just a week ago the playground build area looked more like the community pool. For the last seven days, crews have been working up to 12 hours a day using equipment to suck out the water and get the site ready for the build.


Now that work has begun and everything is running smoothly, the goal for day one is to get all of the posts installed and begin working on the ground surfacing to make it easier for volunteers working the next couple days.


“I think it is going great, I think the turnout has been wonderful, we have about 75 volunteers on site and every single person is busy with a job,” said Jackee Ohlinger, Flagg-Rochelle Community Park District executive director. “I feel an energy here within everyone and I think it is really great.”


People from a variety of organizations showed up Thursday morning to show support for the project, including staff members of Bayer in Ashton, Illini Care from Naperville, State Farm and even State Representative Tom Demmer.


“I think it is great to see the community come together like this it shows there is pride in this park, there is pride in this community. When you can get people, who are willing to work together to get something done you can really do a big project like this in a remarkable amount of time,” added Demmer.


For weeks leading up to the build the park district officials have been asking for volunteers to sign up. The turnout has been a bit short of the 90 per shift that was expected, but Ohlinger is appreciative of any help that comes out.


“We definitely could use more volunteers to sign up, but we have had some people that just walk in and they are always welcome,” explained Ohlinger. “You don’t have to sign up it is not a requirement. It is just easier for us to know who to account for. But we are doing great.”


Ohlinger said everyone who has come out to lend a helping hand on Thursday was ready to work and had a great attitude, and not a single complaint about the mud was mentioned.


“Thank you is the most important thing to say, to the board, to the community, to the volunteers, to the sponsor and to anyone that donated. This is just a giant team effort,” she exclaimed.


Day two of the build will continue on June 21 at 8 a.m.


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