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Packers help build new playground

Thanks to the Green Bay Packers organization and the United Way, Olen Park in Clintonville has new playground equipment.

Five members of the Green Bay Packers organization and a variety of other volunteers helped install the playground equipment, Tuesday, Oct. 21.

Justin Mc Auly, Park & Recreation director, said Tony Fisher, community outreach department’s player/alumni senior coordinator for the Packers, first contacted him in August about Clintonville being the recipient of the playground equipment as part of the Hometown Huddle Program.

Mc Auly said the first time Fisher called, Fisher didn’t introduce himself, so Mc Auly thought it might have been a hoax.

“Then he gave a call a little bit later and apologized and introduced himself a little bit better,” Mc Auly said.

After doing some research Mc Auly said he found that the Hometown Huddle Program was legit.

Mc Auly’s biggest question was, “Why Clintonville?”

“They said they wanted to find a city that was close to Green Bay,” Mc Auly said.

Fisher told Mc Auly that he also escorted Eddie Lacy to the Jirschele Banquet in the spring, and that is how he knew about Clintonville.

“It’s fortunate we have that banquet,” Mc Auly said.

To make room for the new playground equipment, Mc Auly said a slide and a wooden tic-tac-toe structure was removed from Olen Park.

“The plans are for us to refurbish them and put them up in Rohrer Park next year. That’s the goal for that stuff. It wasn’t just scrapped and thrown out,” Mc Auly said.

In addition to Clintonville, new playground equipment made available through the Hometown Huddle Program was installed at 31 other locations close to cities that house NFL teams. All the playground equipment was installed, Tuesday, Oct. 21, across the United States.

The new playground equipment installed in Clintonville is valued at around $30,000, Mc Auly said.

“It wasn’t a grant. It was part of the Hometown Huddle with the help of the Green Bay Packers and the United Way, they made it happen. The funding from the two organizations purchased the equipment,” Mc Auly said.

Mc Auly said the city had to provide the mulch but that is done each year anyway.

“We already had the mulch in our budget because every year we budget 100 yards of playground mulch,” Mc Auly said. “It was perfect because that didn’t come yet, and they approached us early enough that we didn’t have that in our playground.”

The Park & Recreation Department did have to cover the cost of the concrete, which amounted to $300-$350, Mc Auly said. He added that funds in the playground account covered that cost.

Holes were drilled, Monday, Oct. 20, with other excavation work also done that day.

Fisher along with Green Bay Packers players — Michael Hill, Lane Taylor, Jayrone Elliot and Carl Bradford — and a variety of other volunteers converged on Olen Park the next day to install the playground equipment. They spent around five hours in Clintonville.

Mc Auly said the Packers players were easy to get along with, and provided plenty of conversation and jokes.

“It was a good time,” Mc Auly said.

Mc Auly said getting the new playground equipment was a good thing,

“These kinds of things probably come every 15-20 years,” Mc Auly said.

The fact that Green Bay Packers players helped install the equipment made it extra special considering the Packers fan base in the area.

“It most likely will never happen again in Clintonville history,” Mc Auly said.

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