Golden Valley play area puts athletic skills to the test
Since its official opening just a couple of weeks ago the new fitness course and play area at Schaper Park has become quite popular. For those who’ve been watching the construction the wait is finally over.

“Collaboration was key,” said Golden Valley Parks and Rec Director Rick Birno.

It had to be to bring this first of its kind in Minnesota, $480,000 play and fitness area to Golden Valley.

“We had four primary, or key partners. One was Three Rivers Park District. They, of course, have a regional bike trail that comes right through the park,” said Birno.

Another partner was Minnetonka based Paul’s Pals, a foundation set up to remember Paul Adelman by providing grants for adaptive projects across the Twin Cities.

“Its accessible for all bodies, so part of it is the ramp, or slow incline access to get up," said Paul’s Pals Executive Director Jennifer Lewin.  "There's all kinds of what’s called "sensory panels” throughout the inside and outside of the playground."

The adaptive structure allows all children to play along side parents and siblings and is very family friendly.

“Its called a challenge course, which is American Ninja Warrior meets NFL draft combine. Its not a play ground. This is a physical fitness course. This is for kids 5 all the way to 85,” said Harlan Lehman, President of Minnesota/Wisconsin Game Time which was the fourth key partner and set up the challenge course.

There is a 40 yard dash that has pressure sensors in the turf. Because you don’t need anyone else to start the timers you can compete against a friend, or just come out and compete against yourself and the clock.

The Golden Valley Rotary Club and the Golden Valley Foundation also contributed to the park. The challenge course at Schaper Park is open 365 days a year rain or shine.

Neil Pursley, reporting

September 29, 2017


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