Contact: Katie Johnson
Event to include ribbon cutting, family fun, music and food trucks
FERGUS FALLS, Minn. (Sept. 14, 2022) – The fundraising committee for Project Play recently announced the impending completion of Dr. Allen Magnuson Park. The committee will celebrate the grand opening of the newly-improved, ADA compliant park with the Fergus Falls community at a family-friendly celebration on September 24, 2022.
The event, featuring live music, food trucks and lots of fun, family activities, will be open to the public from 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. A short program featuring a ribbon cutting and dedication of the project will begin at 2:00 p.m. and include comments from Dr. Allen Magnuson’s family and representatives from the fundraising committee, Fergus Falls Noon Kiwanis, the City of Fergus Falls, Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union and Lake Region Healthcare/Lake Region Medical Group. Open play will immediately follow at 2:30 p.m.
The park, previously known as NP Park, has been updated with ADA compliant improvements. In addition to being ADA compliant, each piece of equipment is inclusive in that everyone can be a part of play with peers of all abilities. The park will also have a water feature consisting of four tall cattails that mist water. The park was renamed in memory of Dr. Allen E. Magnuson in February of this year, a beloved pediatrician who served Fergus Falls and surrounding communities with the Fergus Falls Medical Group for forty years, from 1978 to 2018.
“The children and families he cared for were very important to him, so this playground and this event, which will take place on the one year anniversary of his death, are both an opportunity to recognize and honor his life and impact on our community,” said fundraising committee member Sarah Duffy.
The park is located at the corner of Vernon and Cascade in Fergus Falls, directly across the street from Lake Region Healthcare where Dr. Magnuson practiced medicine. “The fact that this space will benefit and contribute to the wellness of children, which was Dr. Magnuson’s life’s work, is very meaningful,” Duffy added.
The park’s improvements were part of a collaborative effort from the City of Fergus Falls and several donors with a joint mission to bring an inclusive play space to Fergus Falls. The Fergus Falls Noon Kiwanis service club brought the vision for the ADA-compliant playground to life by initiating the project and establishing a fundraising committee, which was chaired by Sarah Duffy, and included members Natalie Knutson, Tasha Rohlfs, and Tami Vigesaa. In addition, Fergus Falls Noon Kiwanis raised $25,000 towards the project through their annual fundraising efforts. Dr. Magnuson’s partners at the Lake Region Medical Group, along with the Lake Region Healthcare Foundation, were instrumental in providing significant funding for the project. Affinity Plus Credit Union donated $50,000 by purchasing a wheelchair accessible “Swing and Sway” to allow kids with different abilities to play together. “When choosing a piece of equipment for the park, it was important to us that the piece we chose would enable play for those of differentages and abilities. It has been exciting to watch this project develop piece by piece and we are thrilled to bring our community together to celebrate the opening of this beautiful, inclusive playground,” said Holly Picchiarini, Branch Manager, Affinity Plus, Fergus Falls. Other major donors donating $10,000 or more include Service Food Market, Gary and Sharon Spies, Otter Tail Corporation Foundation, Chuck and Linda MacFarlane, Dennis Jr. and Kristin Tuel, the Duffy Foundation, John and Kim Erickson, FM Bank, and Minnesota Motor Company. Collectively, over 100 businesses and individuals donated to the project raising over $600,000, making this a true community collaboration.
The September 24 event will be held rain or shine. More details about the festivities can be found on the Project Play Facebook page at Facebook.com/npparkff/.