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      Kids help design playground equipment coming to Wildwood Park

      A KaBOOM representative talks with Ottumwa students about playground designs.
      The new playground equipment coming to Wildwood Park will be hands-on in more ways than one.

      Not only will kids have a chance to play on it, they also will have a hand in designing it.

      Dr. Pepper Snapple Group and the city of Ottumwa are working with KaBOOM, a national non-profit, on this project. A representative from KaBOOM visited Ottumwa Tuesday to visit Wildwood Park and visit with Ottumwa students. Kids in Ottumwa's Prime Time Youth Care program got to hear about the project and hand over their own drawings of what their ideal playground would look like.

      At Tuesday's Park Board meeting, the board members and KaBOOM will draw up a final plan based on the kids' ideas. This process ensures a playground that best fits and represents the community.

      "This playground is going to be designed by children here today at Liberty Elementary School, organized by community members to bring out volunteers and then built by volunteers," said Brenna Hull, project manager with KaBOOM. "And so the end result is something that is not only catered to the needs of the kids who designed it, but really has a lot of love and sweat equity from the community who built it and organized it."

      The $85,000 project is funded 90% by Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, who works with KaBOOM across the country for their Let's Play initiative.

      Next, KaBOOM will come back to Ottumwa in June install the equipment.

      There will be two preparation days and then 200 volunteers will be needed on June 13 to help with installation. Putting the equipment together will take about six hours.