River Bend Trail receives Packer grant
MERRILL, WI – On December 4, the Merrill Chamber of Commerce Foundation – Friends of the River Bend Trail account- received a grant for $5000 to be used in the development of Tyler’s Park, a naturalized park area that will begin in the Spring 2020 at the old Anson-Gilkey property.
The check was presented by the Packers’ Mike Murphy to Tammy Duwe and Brenda Mueller.
“Six years ago, when the property was donated to the foundation for the River Bend Trail use, we discussed keeping two acres of the site for trail development and passing the remaining 15 acres to the City of Merrill for development,” stated Debbe Kinsey, Chamber & Foundation CEO. “And we decided to use our portion for the development of a park area, which will be called Bebel Park and the naturalized playground will be within that park area.”
Kinsey had the concept and photos of other naturalized play areas around the Chicago area just waiting for the project to reach that far. With completion of the Agra Pavilion, it was time to put the plans into action. And that’s when the concept was shared with Tammy Duwe.
Two years ago, Tammy’s son Tyler died from suicide and she was seeking ways in the community to help others. She held a mental heath and organ donation walk on the River Bend Trail in 2018 and 2019 and started a scholarship in his name. But she wanted to do more. When she learned about the concept, that is what she wanted to do.
Tyler’s Naturalized Playground will consist of pod areas set up for activities with natural products, wood, logs, branches, and stones are some the materials. The first pod will have a wooden tee-pee that has already been constructed as an Eagle Scout project. Another pod will have a tree house, another will have a wooden bridge with a corrugated tunnel running under it, another pod will have music, and another pod will have a reading circle made with stumps for little people, kids and parents. There will also be a Memory Rock Garden. Each pod will be cleared out of wooded areas making each pod open and connected to one another, but still have the ‘forest’ feel.
“The grant funded in part by a grant from the Green Bay Packers Foundation, will go a long way to getting this park established,” concluded Kinsey. “It has been a pleasure for us to be a big part of this awesome volunteer group since it was just three of us sitting around a table 8 or 9 years ago. And still today as one of our many fiduciary accounts making stuff happen in Merrill.”
For more information contact Merrill Chamber of Commerce Foundation at 715-536-9474. Or to make a tax-deductible donation their mailing address is Merrill Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Inc., 705 N. Center Avenue, Merrill, WI 54452.