Families can now enjoy updated play equipment and two donated benches at Beyer Park in Warsaw.
The new equipment and benches were celebrated Tuesday with a ribbon-cutting with the Kosciusko Chamber of Commerce.
The total cost of the new play equipment, engineered wood fiber playground mulch, etc., for the park was $50,000, said Parks Superintendent Larry Plummer. The money came out of the Parks Department’s budget.
Beyer Park has 2- to 5-year-old age-appropriate equipment, as well as 5- to 12-year-old age-appropriate equipment, including slides and platforms, Plummer said. It will allow the department to integrate the parks so children of different ages can play at the park.
The equipment installation at Beyer Park was finished Friday, replacing the 27-year-old equipment that was at the park. Plummer said the Parks Department tries to get 20 years out of its play equipment. As safety concerns in playgrounds changes, the department tries to stay current per the department’s five-year plan.
The Warner family also donated about $2,700 for two benches at the park, which were dedicated to the family.
Marsha Schmidtz said her family grew up in the area. Her grandparents, Calvin and Bertha Warner, settled their home at 812 E. Arthur St. They had seven sons and one daughter. During World War II, they had five sons serve in the military.
Wendy Kimpel said the reunions started in the 1950s or 1960s and then took a break. She started the reunions back up in the 1980s to get the family together.
Schmidtz said most of the reunions were in Beyer Park, but they did have reunions in other places such as Michigan, Muncie, Boston and Atlanta.
There would be cookouts and kids games at the reunion, where 60 and 70 people attended.
Kimpel said an auction would happen every reunion and the funds raised from the auction would pay for the next year’s venue and food.
Schmidtz said when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the reunions stopped. Since the older family members don’t want to plan the family reunions and the younger family members are too busy, it was decided to donate benches to the park they had their family reunions at and remember their family with.