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A Look Into The Past: The History of Kaleidoscope

Photo courtesy of Tom Stugmyer

The original construction of the Wadsworth playground Kaleidoscope was a volunteer based project that brought the Wadsworth community together as a team to build the park. For the thirty years which the park has stood, many families and children have been able to create long lasting memories. Earlier this week, the last pieces of the park were torn down which has left many people in grief and sharing their experiences with the park on an online forum, Wadsworth Neighbors.

Over the span of a week in 1995, members of the community who volunteered their time, showed up to the site of the playground to work on it. Volunteers like brothers Patrick and Scott Wemmer got very involved in the project.

“If I recall, construction took about a week,” Patrick Wemmer said. “I would pick up my two children and we would work three to four hours every day. You would report to the project manager on site, tell them your skills and they would direct you to a specific job. Kids would paint, sort supplies, deliver water to workers, etc. Adults would saw, drill, cut, assemble, etc.” 

After getting involved with the building of the playground, Patrick called his brother Scott to help him reach out to others and get more volunteers. Early on in the project, the volunteer numbers were low when much still had to be done.

“It was totally a volunteer project, and it was amazing the amount of people,” Scott Wemmer said. “We had a very slow response in the beginning and that’s when I got involved. I got a phone call saying my brother was donating some safety equipment, earplugs, safety glasses and stuff. He called me and said, ‘they have no volunteers down here, there’s a ton of work that needs done and there isn’t anybody here. So then I came back to the office and got on the phone and called a bunch of people I knew, which included radio stations and a couple of TV stations. Then I called the local factories and requested to them saying, ‘hey, why don’t you give them an hour off and get them here to help.’ Then once I got to the radio stations and word got out, we just got overwhelmed, it was amazing and the turnout was great.”

Over the next few days as the news spread the number of volunteers had increased greatly. The Wadsworth community had come together over those few days to get the playground built.

“It was amazing, the comradery and working together was amazing,” Scott Wemmer said.  “We had people down to five or six-year-old kids down there painting things. We had stations set up for everything like all the painting and all that stuff. Once everyone got a good word of it, the support was overwhelming.”

Over the thirty years in which the park stood, maintenance was continued by Scott Wemmer and his company. Because of the maintenance done, the park had the longest standing of its design in the surrounding area. Plans to tear down the playground and build a new one have been in the works for a while. As the playground was recently fully taken down, construction to build the new design will start soon. Many of the original volunteers are still sharing their stories and experiences while working on the playground thirty years ago. Based on the community’s feelings toward the park, it is clear what kind of impact this playground has had on Wadsworth and its citizens, and is already missed by many.

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About the Contributor
Katie Allen
Katie Allen, Print Editor-in Chief
Katie Allen is a senior and has been on the staff for four years, her current position is Print Editor-In-Chief. She is most looking forward to seeing what awards the staff can win this year at OSMA, she hopes this year the Bruin can win All-State. Her favorite part about Bruin is all the new and interesting people she gets to meet and how she gets to share their stories through her writing in the Bruin. She believes anyone who is on the fence about joining Bruin should just go for it and try something new because there are so many different opportunities for students on the staff.
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  • K

    Kaiden BlubaughApr 30, 2024 at 11:51 am

    Thats sad