The Norman Transcript

March 23, 2014

Volunteers gear up for KidSpace makeover Saturday


The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — It was a cold spring March day in 1999, much like this past Saturday, when hundreds of volunteers descended on Reaves Park. Their collective mission was to build a massive playground.

They wouldn’t leave until KidSpace was complete and the children of Norman had a new playground on March 28, 1999.

In hindsight, my response to the volunteer coordinator’s question about my experience with power tools should have come with more hesitation. Sure, I said, “Tool Time” is my favorite television show.

He didn’t get my humor and instead handed me a “skilled” tag and directions to a table saw where I must have cut 5,000 slats to put on the sides of the massive toy. My right arm has never been the same.

———

Many of those same volunteers will be on site Saturday morning as a makeover is planned for the massive structure that my children never got tired of.

The playground will be closed Monday through March 31 as city crews complete some prep work on the wood and steel structure. Volunteers will be sanding and sealing and replacing some of the wood chips beneath the structure.

 “Safety for the kids is our primary concern while we prepare the playground site for the volunteer event”, said Bill Ulch, Park Superintendent.  “We will be using some heavy equipment to bring materials in during the week and want the area to be safe for everyone.”

 The Kidspace Re-generation volunteer event is scheduled to begin at Reaves Park at 8 a.m. Saturday March 29th and continue through Sunday March 30th. 

Volunteers are still needed to do sanding, minor carpentry work,  apply waterproof sealing and replace safety surfacing. 

There will be food and drinks provided for all volunteers.  Anyone interested in volunteering is urged to register by going to normanfun.com and clicking on the Kidspace Logo, or by calling the Parks and Recreation Department at 366-5472.

 ———

The new director of Norman’s Convention and Visitors Bureau says he takes his role as a steward of tax dollars very seriously. His agency will receive about $850,000 in room tax money and another $50,000 in advertising and other revenue in the next fiscal year.

“When you have tax dollars that the community has trusted you with, you have to be very transparent,” Dan Schemm told a business group this past week.

He is trying to keep the city’s 2,800 hotel rooms booked with convention and visitors. April and May are big months for them. The music festival, 89er Day weekend, Medieval Fair, Mom’s Day and graduation will bring thousands of visitors to Norman.

Additionally, the annual travel and tourism luncheon will be held May 13 at the National Weather Center.

The new Holiday Inn Express and Residence Inn will add some back-up rooms for the Embassy Suites Hotel and Convention Center.

What Norman could use, Schemm said, is a large, expo-style building where exhibitors could bring in items as large as an airplane or combine.

Breaking news, severe weather alerts, AMBER alerts, sports scores from The Norman Transcript are available as text messages right to your phone or mobile device. You decide which type of alerts you want to receive. Find out more or to signup, click here.