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Seasons Park goes to 'Kids Around the World'

A piece of Woodbury will soon find a new home thousands of miles away.

Instead of throwing out playground equipment this year, the city of Woodbury donated it to a nonprofit organization known for packing and shipping meals to third world countries.

The group, Kids Around the World, is not only catering to the hungry.

The organization has been removing outdated playground structures from around the United States to send to children all over the world since 2009.

"It's the ultimate in recycling," said Diana Hamachek, assistant to the playground director for Kids Around the World. "You're taking one thing that someone is done with, and you're giving it to someone in need."

Kids Around the World was in Woodbury earlier this month to remove Seasons Park playground equipment. Last year, the organization was here to remove Colby Lake Park's equipment.

Woodbury Parks and Recreation Director Bob Klatt said the city has an annual replacement schedule for playgrounds to keep them compliant with safety guidelines.

"The surface and accessibility of the Seasons Park play structure no longer meet industry and accessibility standards and therefore needs to be replaced," he wrote in a letter to Woodbury City Council.

The cost of the new playground is about $40,000 and includes installation, he continued.

Instead of having city crews remove the old structure and rent recycling Dumpsters that accept metal and plastic, the city saves time and disposal costs by donating to Kids Around the World.

"It's an effective recycling alternative that benefits less fortunate children in overseas countries," Klatt said.

When Kids Around the World picked up Colby Lake Park last year, children in a poor area of Poland benefited from the project, according to Hamachek.

"New playgrounds are very expensive, and many times people who are looking for a playground overseas don't have the same budget or the same luxury of being able to afford a playground," she said.

The first playground ever donated was shipped from the United States to Haiti in 2009. Since then, Kids Around the World has collected and sent structures to Iraq, Costa Rica, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Poland, Mexico, Ukraine, Uganda, Zambia. Nicaragua, Thailand, Guatemala, Peru and Kazakhstan.

As for Seasons Park, its new home could be any of those countries or somewhere new.

"It will have a home soon," Hamachek said.

Riham Feshir
Riham Feshir is a reporter and photographer for the Woodbury Bulletin. Her coverage includes Woodbury City Hall, Washington County Board of Commissioners and business news.  Follow Riham on Twitter @RihamFeshir for the latest updates.