The Norman Transcript

February 28, 2014

15 years after blitz build, volunteers ready to renovate 13,000-square-foot playground

By Andy Rieger
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — More than 3,000 volunteers came together for a weeklong, playground blitz build in March 1999. Fifteen years later, volunteers will get together in Reaves Park to renovate the 13,000-square-foot playground.

Organizers are hopeful that many of the 1999 volunteers will be on hand for the “Kidspace Regeneration” on March 29 at the park on the corner of Jenkins Avenue and Constitution Street. If the work is not completed that Saturday, volunteers will return March 30.

The project is scheduled to start at 8 a.m. Rain-out dates will be April 19 or May 17, if needed.

Architect Mike Tower, a former city councilman, and his wife, Robyn, are credited with planting the idea for Norman. They had seen a similar blitz build in Texas.

“What I remember was how gratifying it was to the people who planned it to see so many people come out and spend their time working on a project for Norman,” Tower said. “For the people themselves who came out, it seemed like everyone did not want to leave. It was almost like a party with a common purpose.”

Tower said momentum built over the five-day build and friends told friends about the project. The weather didn’t matter.

“Everyone who went there, not sure what they wanted to do, but they came back with a spirit of community that lasts until today. Everyone who participated has some sort of ownership in it.”

Kidspace has been maintained by the city parks and recreation department for the past 15 years, but the wood and metal structure is showing its age. Primary areas of volunteer work will be sanding, applying waterproof sealant and applying new wood chip safety surfacing.

Volunteers are encouraged to sign up online at normanfun.com. If online access is not available, volunteers may call 366-5472. Volunteers can sign up for morning or afternoon shifts or work all day. Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

When signing up, volunteers will be asked if they have any tools they can bring. Tools needed include belt sanders with extra belts, palm sander with extra sand paper, skill saws, jigsaws, table saw, extension cords, electric drill/screwdrivers, electric wrench/sockets, hammers, wheel barrows, pitch forks, rakes, scoop shovels, ladders, tarps, gloves, safety glasses, earplugs, disposable paint brushes and rollers and paint buckets.

Financial contributions may be made to the Norman Park Foundation, P.O. Box 6523, Norman, OK 70370. Donors are asked to indicate “Kidspace” on checks.

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