WDAY: The News Leader

Published June 05, 2011, 08:34 AM

Sherlock Forest Playground May Be Replaced By The End Of The Year

East Grand Forks, Minn. (WDAZ TV) - The city of East Grand Forks isn't wasting any time planning what to do with a popular park, destroyed by fire.

By: Lezlie Johnson, WDAZ

Volunteers are ready to build another playground, possibly even bigger than the old one. Sherlock Forest Playground is just a skeleton of what it used to be after fire destroyed it.

"I was really depressed, I was mad, me and my dad came here a lot to check it out and see where it got burnt." 11-year-old Elijah Wang said.

"I'd kind of like to see it a little taller so we could actually fit in there now." 13-year-old Dylan Brown said.

People like Brown will soon see upgrades with another park in the works. Over 3,000 volunteers built Sherlock Forest Playground eight years ago.

After losing it, the city wants to start construction on a new one as soon as possible.

"I'm cautiously optimistic that we can begin the demolition process soon and we'll have to get those materials just as fast as we can and I've mentioned previously I want to get this done this summer, that's still my goal." city administrator Scott Huizenga said.

Estimates show the park is a 70 percent loss. The appraisal is $373,000. Although just preliminary, if the city gets as many volunteers as coordinator Panne Pape did in 2003, this amount should cover the cost.

"What I'm hearing from the community is that they want the same build, whether we can add on to it all will depend on the company we work with." Pape said.

The city is meeting this week to come up with a plan for volunteer and fundraising efforts and form a coordinating committee. As the efforts begin, those involved are excited but will never forget the park they lost.

"I was hoping it wasn't intentional and it sounds like it wasn't which is good." Pape said.

"I just want everything the same because that was like my favorite park when I was a little kid." Wang said.

"I'd just like to have it the same pretty much because it'd be nice to have again." Brown said.

Two teenagers are accused of unintentionally starting that fire May 27th. If you are interested in helping build the new playground you can call 218-773-2483.