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James L. White/Staff

Harrison city workers were removing old wooden playground equipment Thursday morning at Lake Harrison Park, but Parks director Chuck Eddington said new equipment will soon be installed.

City workers were taking down the old wooden playground equipment Thursday morning at Lake Harrison Park and it will be replaced with new equipment.

Parks director Chuck Eddington said the move is not in conjunction with the Rotary Club’s Wonder Willa Park, rather it had become unsafe.

In April, Eddington told the Parks and Recreation Commission that some boards were missing from the walkways. The slide had been boarded off at the time because a hole opened in the fiberglass and a replacement would take a year or more to manufacture.

Commissioners approved allowing Eddington to spend $8,000 repairing the equipment.

That slide was then patched for use during the summer months. Now, with weather beginning to cool off, the department is removing that part of the equipment now behind orange construction fencing and new equipment, bought with the money approved for repairs, will be installed in its place, Eddington said.

The old wooden equipment has been in place long enough that Public Works employee James Hensley said it had been there for the more than 27 years he has worked for the city.

Jeff Brasel, who is now Daily Times sports editor, recalled that he was advertising director at what was then Mass Merchandisers in 1990.

The MMI Club, the philanthropic arm of the company, was preparing to give out $20,000 for worthwhile endeavors. Employees were surveyed to find out what they thought the city needed and Brasel said the winning response was playground equipment.

He said he and his wife, Becky, wrote a grant proposal and presented it to MMI executives. That resulted in a $10,000 grant.

The Junior Auxiliary pitched in another $10,000, Brasel said. They set about raising money from other companies and individuals and wound up with about $47,000.

The equipment, which Brasel said was the most handicapped-accessible available at the time, was located in Oregon. MMI allowed a truck to route outside the company’s normal coverage area to haul the raw equipment back to Harrison. Volunteers then assembled it in spring 1991 and the city installed the pea gravel.

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