Cody Bergemann and mum Heidi can’t keep the grins off their faces at the opening of the new Leslie Park playground and liberty swing.
Cody Bergemann and mum Heidi can’t keep the grins off their faces at the opening of the new Leslie Park playground and liberty swing. Shannon Newley

Swing brings smiles

AS THE saying goes, smile and world smiles with you - and that was certainly the case for six-year-old Cody Bergemann when the Leslie Park playground officially reopened on Saturday.

The addition of a liberty swing fitted out for people in wheelchairs had Cody flying high and his infectious grin quickly had onlookers smiling from ear to ear.

The swing was funded in a joint effort by the Variety Club, Warwick Rotary and the Southern Downs Regional Council, with contributions from Apex Warwick as well.

Variety supporter Garry Lang said the equipment for the swing cost $25,000 while the council took on the $15,000 installation cost.

"Seeing their smiles is payment in full," Mr Lang said.

"It's just worth every bit and you can't buy that reaction."

Twelve-year-old Tyler Nichol was also out enjoying the new addition to the playground and her mum, Karen Gillick, said it was priceless to see the smile on her daughter's face.

"Now these kids don't have to sit here and watch the other kids," Ms Gillick said.

"It makes you want to get out of the house more, instead of sitting at home."

Cr Neil Meiklejohn said the swing could be accessed through a master key system, with the keys able to be used at other Variety liberty swings across the country.

He said individuals, schools and organisations could register for a key with many already handed out to local groups so they could access the swing.

Mr Lang said there had been rumblings of a swing for Stanthorpe as well.

"We would like to see it happen from a shire point of view," he said.

"We talked about it and have considered it; there shouldn't just be one and we'll look to Stanthorpe as the next biggest community."

Mayor Ron Bellingham said he was pleased to see the parked reopened on Saturday after mounting pressure from his grandson during the past few months.

"My grandson has been asking me 'when can I go to the police park?'" he said.

Cr Bellingham said he was also glad to see the older equipment stay.

"I used to play on the boat swings when I was young," he said.

"So I am pleased to see at least some of my stuff is still here."

Cr Bellingham said the cost of the liberty swing and the rest of the new equipment in the park had been well worth it.

"The cost has been significant and I am really pleased to see the partnership of these elements of the community," he said.

Despite some wet weather during Friday evening, children still turned out after waiting patiently over the past few months for the park to open again.

The fort was a hit with six-year-old Jack Sheard, his four-year-old sister Ebony and youngster Leigham Portner while the climbing ropes were the highlight for three-year-old Oliver Seibel.

The council will work on rejuvenating other parks in the region with the old play equipment from Chase Estate Park in Warwick being replaced with a new fort with two slides and a swing set.

Canning Park at Killarney will also have new equipment installed in the next 12 months. And Stuart Henry Park at Allora will get a fort, monkey bars, chin swing sets and a bird's nest swing.

 

Park upgrades

  • 13 parks have been upgraded in the Southern Downs in the past four years.
  • Chase Estate Park, Warwick will have its equipment replaced.
  • Canning Park, Killarney will get a facelift in the next 12 months.
  • Stuart Henry Park, Allora will get new equipment installed.
  • The liberty swing cost about $40,000 with contributions from council, the Variety Club, Rotary and Apex.

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