New Playground Opens in Hermantown – Duluth News Tribune

HERMANTOWN – The stage is being set up at the town’s new playground. A small wooden walk-in stage was the final piece built by Skyline Rotary Club volunteers. She is the final element to be added to the new Hawks Nest playground adjacent to the Hermantown Community Learning Center.

Climbing Wall Hawks Nest Playground
A recently added climbing wall/slide provided the inspiration for the new playground’s name – Hawks Nest. The playground is used by preschool and Headstart students at the Hermantown Community Learning Center during the school day and is open for community use outside of school hours.

Teri Cadeau/Duluth News Tribune

“For the past two years we haven’t had a playground here and our kids have been going into the woods or onto the tennis courts to play,” said Kristal Berg, director of community education at Hermantown and Proctor Community Education. “So every student in our building can go outside and use their great motor skills and let their imagination run wild.”

Built in 2019, the Hermantown Community Learning Center hosts early childhood family education classes, some preschool classes, and a partnership with Head Start.

The playground was designed by Trish Crego, landscape architect at JPJ Engineering. She also teaches a community education class inside the building, which is why she realized the playground could use a little help.

“The boulders were already here to have some natural play,” Crego said. “So I wanted to make something that’s halfway between a nature game and a mobile game. We have a lot of features that can be postponed due to snow removal and we have a lot of features that are accessible.”

Mobile playground features line the side of the Hawks Nest playground along with a permanent bounce feature.
Mobile playground elements line the wall of the Hawks Nest playground in front of the Hermantown Community Learning Center. Some of these can be moved inside during the winter months. The playground is equipped with natural objects such as climbing stones and typical play equipment such as this bouncy seesaw.

Teri Cadeau/Duluth News Tribune

Crego said she also focused on hosting the playground for younger students. Just down the hill from the playground is the primary school playground which they believe is suitable for students aged 5 to 12. In addition to the new stage, the playground was expanded in 2021 to include a wooden climbing pyramid, a slide with a climbing wall and tower, a bouncy seesaw and a number of mobile play stations.

“We really needed something for the younger generation,” Crego said. “Rather in the 1- to 8-year-old range. A place where parents can bring their little ones to play.”

The playground is open to the public outside of school hours.

The stage was built over the past two months by volunteers from the Skyline Rotary Club. The school provided them with the materials, Crego, another club member, designed the designs, and the Rotarians made the project a reality.

“It’s a place where kids can dance,” said Mark Leutgeb, a member of the Skyline Rotary Club. “They can put on their own plays and do whatever they want.”

Leutgeb said Rotarians also built an outdoor classroom for the Hermantown neighborhood 20 years ago, which is still in use today.

“And I assume that children will still love and use this stage in 20 to 30 years,” said Leutgeb.



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