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Pafko Park playground equipment to be dedicated Saturday

BOYCEVILLE — It is said that it takes a village to raise a child.

For the Boyceville Lions Club and community, it also took the village and then some to build their children’s playground.

The Boyceville Lions Club’s 18-month project to fundraise and build a new playground at Andy Pafko Park along State Road 170 in the village will culminate this Saturday, August 2 with a Noon dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony. The event officially gets underway at 10 a.m. and will run until 2 p.m.

The day’s activities will also feature a free grilled chicken dinner starting at 11:30 am until gone provided by Legends Pub and Eatery owners and Boyceville Lions members Murphy and Dawn Breland. Murphy Breland is the organization’s current president and playground chairman. Dawn is a former president.

Boyceville and Pafko Park now have another gem thanks to the efforts of the Boyceville Lions Club, donors and volunteers. Fundraising for the project was no small undertaking as the group needed to secure some $75,000 in funds to make the playground a reality.

“Boyceville’s Lions Club raised all the funds needed for this project through various means,” said Brian Wolff, Boyceville Lions Club treasurer.

“We have had raffles, breakfasts, chicken feeds, we did direct mailers to residents in Boyceville, Wheeler, Connorsville, and Downing; we applied for grants and contacted local businesses and major corporations for sponsorships and donations.”

Wolff said the seed to build a new playground germinated in November of 2012 and the group began to raise funds just a few months later in early 2013.

“One of our members, who wishes to remain anonymous, thought we needed better playground equipment,” Wolff said. “Go to Wilson and they have a nice little set there, Wheeler has a nice playground and Boyceville did not. So the club member came to us and said we needed to get something here in Boyceville.”

“That’s what started it all.”

A small idea would soon blossom.

With a plan in hand the Lions began to seek funds. The monies came in slowly at first but they kept coming.

In time, the club was able to garner some larger donations from organizations, businesses and individuals.

The Community Foundation of Dunn County gave $6,000; Cardinal Glass donated $5,000; Peoples State Bank of Boyceville gifted $5,500; the Village of Boyceville approved a donation of $5,000; the Young-at-Hearts Club gave $1,000; and a $2,500 individual donation from Boyceville native Madilyn (Wold) Bailey helped kick the campaign into high gear.

Then in May of this year, the project received its largest donation, a $25,000 grant from the Otto Bremer Foundation. That took the tally to $55,000. Less than two months later an additional $20,000 had been raised to reach the goal of $75,000.

“Many, many other businesses and organizations have donated to this. It was not just those few,” said Wolff.

“We had several individual donations with donation squares on the “Pay off the Park” board. That was quite successful,” he noted

“We had to come up with a way to raise money,” said Wolff. “The park is about 2,500 square feet so we made a board that had 2,500 squares on it. So for $25 individuals got to buy a square and say that they help “Pay off the Park”.

“We have captured all those names, all of those people, and we are going to put up a sign that mirrors what that board looked like,” added Wolff. “So, if you bought a square you will actually have a square on this donor-recognition board that will be next to the new playground equipment.”

“There was a perfect spot for it right there at Andy Pafko Park,” Wolff said. “Something that is utilized already but not as well as it could be. There just was not a lot of playground equipment there.”

The Lions Club approached the Village about removing the horseshoe pits that had been a staple in the park for decades but were no longer being used.

“So that was the perfect spot,” echoed Wolff.

“All along the Village has been very supportive of this project and they’ve been willing to do whatever it took to help us succeed.”

Spearheaded by Murphy Breland, project chairman and club president, the Lions members along with assistance from the Boyceville firefighters, village employees, individual volunteers and members of the Boyceville Wrestling Team installed the new equipment from Minnesota-Wisconsin Playground on Friday, July 11 and Saturday, July 12.

Since then, a concrete curb encircling the entire 2,500 square foot playground has been added along with over a foot of mulch.

The new equipment includes four slides and a pair of climbing walls. The playground will also feature the well-known Lions’ drinking fountain in the northwest corner along with several benches and a pair of trash receptacles.

“This is the biggest project that this club has ever tackled, by far,” Wolff stated.

The Boyceville Lions, chartered in 1992 has just 18 active members, and while they may be a small organization, their roar has  been loud and effective.

“We have helped put up scoreboards, the one at Pafko Park and the high school field, but this is the biggest project we have ever done.”

“When we first started out and saw the price tag of what the equipment was going to be and then all the other things that go along with it, the mulch and curbing, we are putting in a fountain, and the recognition board and all of that, we thought how in the world are we going to raise that kind of money,” Wolff admitted.

“But with hard work and diligence, it paid off and we are there.”

Members of the Pafko family are planning on attending Saturday’s dedication. Andy’s sister-in-law Ruth Pafko (the widow of Ed Pafko), and nephew Frank Pafko, Jr., along with some of his grandkids are expected Saturday.

Other dignitaries that will be in attendance at the ceremony include the current Lions’ District Governor, Pat Sandness of Menomonie along with her husband. The Lions have also invited musician and singer Madilyn (Wold) Bailey to be a part of the ceremony. Bailey, the salutatorian of Boyceville’s Class of 2011, has become a You Tube sensation since graduating just three short years ago. According to her facebook page, Bailey has amassed 500,000 subscribers and 70 million views.

Wolff related that he had just received an email from Bailey which stated that she would be at the dedication and has offered to sing a couple of songs.

Wolff said that following the dedication, the equipment will be turned over to those it was intended to serve – the children.