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A groundbreaker for kids
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Detroit Lakes, 56501
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

This Saturday is a big day for members of the Boys and Girls Club.

For two years they have been working to raise money and design a handicap-accessible playground, and it's finally going up.

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Besides some grant money and other larger donors, the kids raised about $14,000 with carwashes and more to fund the first and only wheelchair accessible playgrounds in the area.

"We looked at a lot of stuff and did a lot of car washes," Tonya Anderson said. Anderson was one of 13 members to help with implementing the playground.

Boys and Girls Club Program Leader Nicole Anderson had several magazines for the kids to look through before picking out slides, monkey bars, swings, lily pads and more for their playground. The most unique aspect of the playground though is the fact that it is handicapped accessible.

It has taken two years to complete the project, "but it was all worth it in the end," member Olivia Anderson said.

On Saturday, the kids will split up with adults and work as teams to complete the playground.

Also on Saturday, the Boys and Girls Club will hold an open house and membership drive for the club. Nicole Anderson said there will be lots of donated food that day, along with an awards ceremony, karaoke and other entertainment and activities.

Once the playground is in place, who knows who will get to test it out first? Tonya Anderson said the staff has been teasing the kids that the adults will get to test out the playground first because of safety issues.

Nicole Anderson laughs and tells the kids that once the ribbon is cut, the playground is free to anyone.

Getting the playground off and running was a $5,000 grant from the company Kaboom. The group also received $500 in in-kind donations from Home Depot and $7,500 from the city of Detroit Lakes.

The Torch Club, the group of members that have planned and raised funds for the playground, consists of Cameron Dennis, Nick Roethel, Tonya Anderson, Katie Kelsven, Kellie Carroll, Olivia Anderson, Alex Tangen, Ginger Fisher, Kiki and Miranda Shumaker, Molly Hill, Riley Olson and Cody Borah.

"They have done a really good job for their age," Nicole Anderson said of the group of kids behind the playground. "At 13, I wouldn't have done what they have."

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