MOORHEAD — Organizers of a proposed natural playground for Moorhead's Riverfront Park are hoping the park-within-a park pairing will become a regional draw and an outdoor inspiration for children and adults alike.
Heather Ranck, a volunteer with the FM Rotary Foundation, which is working to establish the playground, said among the features proposed for the site are things like logs, boulders and a bicycle skill area, which will be set in a landscape dominated by grass and trees, rather than various forms of pavement.
"A lot of kids don't get near as much time outdoors as previous generations did," Ranck said, adding that there is growing evidence of numerous health and developmental benefits tied to getting outside.
"We're trying to create a really inspirational place that will be fun for kids and parents," Ranck said. "Something different, something that inspires a sense of adventure with the location."
The site planned for the playground, a spot near the Red River a short distance north of the Moorhead Center Mall, is conveniently located near both downtown Moorhead and downtown Fargo, she noted.
The playground is still in the design stage.
Once features have been settled on, organizers will have a better idea of a budget and how much money will need to be raised.
Ranck said the estimated cost is in the neighborhood of $700,000. Donations toward the effort may be made online at the FM Rotary Foundation website, https://fmrotaryfoundation.org/page/natural-playground.
The FM Rotary Foundation, which is supported by five area Rotary clubs, is working closely with Moorhead Parks & Recreation to set up the playground, according to Ranck, who added that Rotary clubs have been instrumental in setting up a number of other playgrounds in the metro area, including an inclusive playground in Lindenwood Park in Fargo.
Other playground proposals receiving attention lately include an inclusive playground planned for Moorhead's Southside Regional Park, located near 20th Street and 40th Avenue south by the Moorhead Soccer Complex.
As with the natural playground, backers of the proposed inclusive playground intend for it to be a regional destination.
Moorhead city officials recently listed the inclusive playground among potential projects that might someday benefit from a sales tax if state officials allow the city to put a sales tax measure on the ballot and if Moorhead residents approve it.