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Kiwanis Club of Mankato Wins $25,000 to Build Inclusive Playground

| Jun 12, 2017

All kids will play together with award from Landscape Structures, Kiwanis International

Delano, Minn. (June 12, 2017) — A fourth grader who uses a wheelchair will soon get to play on the playground with her friends. Her story helped convinced a panel of judges to award the Kiwanis Club of Mankato (Minnesota) US$25,000 worth of playground equipment in the Legacy of Play® Contest, sponsored by Landscape Structures Inc. and Kiwanis International. 

Contact: Katie Swanson, Landscape Structures Inc., or Vicki Hermansen, Kiwanis International

The Kiwanis Club of Mankato is partnering with local organizations to develop what will be known as The Fallenstein Playground. The club’s winning essay told the story of a fourth grader who felt excluded from activities at a playground where she was just a spectator. 

“This is so wonderful and we are just so grateful,” exclaimed Wilbur Neushwander-Fink, who spearheaded the Kiwanis Club of Mankato’s contest entry and accepted the call announcing the playground recipient. “Oh my gosh it’s just wonderful!”

Neushwander-Fink said, “It’s a good day!” She said her grandchildren, who were traveling with her when she took the call, began clapping when she shared the news.

“I was on that field last night, thinking that a playground will be here sooner rather than later,” Neushwander-Fink said. The club had recently been informed that it would also receive funding from the Dana and Christopher Reeves Foundation. 

Mankato, 75 miles southwest of Minneapolis, is renowned for its great parks and trails, and offers breathtaking landscapes of rivers, lakes, ravines, bluffs, natural prairies and forested areas. With a population of nearly 41,000, Mankato offers small town living in a thriving regional center. The $25,000 award will help complete the all-inclusive Fallenstein Playground, which is located adjacent to Fallenstein Field, the fully accessible baseball field used by the Miracle League of North Mankato, in Caswell Park. 

In collaboration with the City of North Mankato and many local organizations, community members and business owners, the Kiwanis Club of Mankato will create an all-inclusive playground where children and families of all abilities can develop, discover, laugh and experience the joy of play. 

“The opportunity for children of all abilities to play at an inclusive playground is the right thing for our community to do for children now and for children in the future,” said Neushwander-Frink. 

“On behalf of Landscape Structures, I would like to congratulate the Kiwanis Club of Mankato on winning the Legacy of Play contest,” said Pat Faust, president of Landscape Structures. “We look forward to working with the club members and the community of Mankato to bring to life their dream of an inclusive playground that will truly welcome children of all abilities to play together.” 

The Legacy of Play Contest began in 2013 to encourage Kiwanis clubs to bring play and playgrounds to communities around the world. Landscape Structures and Kiwanis International believe that playgrounds are gathering spaces to bring communities together to learn, have fun and connect. Landscape Structures, headquartered in Delano, Minn., is the world’s leading designer and manufacturer of commercial play equipment. Kiwanis International, headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind., is a global organization of members of all ages, dedicated to serving the children of the world. 

“Kiwanis International is delighted to award the Kiwanis Club of Mankato $25,000 in playground equipment to help build a new inclusive playground,” said 2016-17 Kiwanis International President Jane Erickson. “Kids need Kiwanis, and this playground will give children of all abilities the opportunity to play together, and become a welcome destination point for families and children.” 

The Kiwanis Club of Mankato will complete its inclusive playground project on or around Kiwanis One Day in October 2018. Kiwanis One Day is Kiwanis International’s signature day of service during which many clubs participate in service projects benefitting their local communities. To find a Kiwanis club near you, go to Kiwanis.org/findaclub

About Kiwanis International  Founded in 1915, Kiwanis International is a global organization of clubs and members dedicated to serving the children of the world. Kiwanis and its family of clubs, including Circle K International for university students, Key Club for high school students, Builders Club for middle school students, Kiwanis Kids for elementary school students and Aktion Club for adults living with disabilities, annually dedicate more than 18 million hours and raise more than $100 million to strengthen communities and serve children. Nearly 670,000 adult and youth members in more than 80 countries and geographic areas comprise the Kiwanis International family. For more information about Kiwanis International, visit www.kiwanis.org

About Landscape Structures Inc. 
Since 1971, Landscape Structures Inc. has been the leading manufacturer of commercial playground equipment in the world. The employee-owned company designs community and school playgrounds that encourage kids of all ages and abilities to learn persistence, leadership, competition, bravery, support and empathy through play. Landscape Structures pushes the limits—of design, inclusion, play—to help kids realize there is no limit to what they can do today and in the future. For a better tomorrow, we play today. To bring a Landscape Structures playground to your community, visit playlsi.com.

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