In early May, AcenTek sent 16 volunteers to help with the construction of the new, handicapped accessible playground at the city park in Houston, MN. This impressive playground was possible due to the generous donations from businesses and individuals in the area.
The idea of an improved playground in Houston began years ago with the Houston High School graduating class of 1966. The alumni decided to participate in the Houston Hoedown parade as part of their reunion celebration. Their parade entry was an old bus, renovated and decorated to reflect the 60’s style. But somehow, inclusion in the parades didn’t seem enough. Over time, the class decided they wanted to give back to the community in a lasting way. Afterall, Houston was their home, where they had grown up. An observation was made that the town needed a new playground in the city park, one that was inclusive for all children. And so, the Houston Mission 66 project was born with the goal of fundraising until a new, better, handicapped accessible playground could be built in Houston. The name, Mission 66, correlates to the class who felt strongly about giving back, but also has a tie to our nation’s history. Following World War II, Mission 66 was a 10-year effort to improve our nation’s parks. After learning that, the name seemed especially fitting for the endeavor.
The new playground includes a replica of the Class of ’66 bus and of the current elementary school. In addition to standard playground equipment such as swings and monkey bars, the playground was designed to reflect the Houston community. Special features include the following: An owl nest climber, a Houston bluff rock wall, a Hurricane slide, a phone booth, a Houston tractor pull, a grain elevator, an apple tree house, Fort Cody, a barn and silo, and an owl center. A unique piece of equipment that will be added to the playground is a handicapped accessible swing. The liberty swing can accommodate children and adults in wheelchairs. AcenTek believed so strongly in this addition that we donated $15,000 for the swing and an additional $2,000 towards the construction of the sidewalk and ramp needed to access the swing.
Todd Roesler, CEO, commented on AcenTek’s contribution to this cause, “Houston is where our headquarters is and the city park is our back yard, so to speak. The donation of funds, along with allowing the staff to volunteer their time is simply us showing support of a worthy project. AcenTek is proud to be a part of that.”
The goal of Mission 66 was to create the best playground in Houston County. We believe that goal was accomplished. Come and see for yourself.