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Kids to Parks Day event planned for May 20

Newton resident Morgan Frehse climbs a rock wall this last year at Maytag Park in Newton. The Newton 
Park Board are discussing ways to celebrate Kids to Parks Day on May 20.
Newton resident Morgan Frehse climbs a rock wall this last year at Maytag Park in Newton. The Newton Park Board are discussing ways to celebrate Kids to Parks Day on May 20.

To celebrate Kids to Parks Day on May 20, the Newton Parks Board discussed several activities that could take place in the parks at its Wednesday meeting.

The board agreed on a social media park scavenger hunt which would be a good way to get community members out in the parks, especially lesser known smaller neighborhood parks.

“I really like the social media idea,” board member Amanda Price said. “We did something similar with a scavenger hunt for the chamber.”

To participate, individuals need to go to six of the 12 parks selected, take their picture with the designated landmark and post them to the parks Facebook page. Those who complete the scavenger hunt will be in the running for a prize basket which may include passes to Maytag Pool or Westwood Golf Course among prizes.

The landmarks at the parks include:

• The rabbit at Maytag Park

• The sign at 30 Acre Park

• The butterfly at Agnes Patterson Park

• The swing set at Dennison Knolls Park

• The sign at Lincoln Park

• The mural at Woodland Park

• The zip line at Aurora Park

• The tunnel at Callison Park

• The monkey bars at Hillcrest Park

• On a golf cart at Westwood Golf Course

• The gazebo at Sersland Park

Additional details about the event and prize will come at a later date.

The board also discussed the fundraising efforts for the Fourth of July fireworks display and activities. Parks administrative superintendent Nathan Unsworth said the city recently received $1,000 from Black Hills Energy but the event is still short of the $10,000 needed to make it happen.

To help raise funds, the board is selling “fireworks” at Hy-Vee for $1 and plans to place donation buckets at area businesses in the coming weeks. Price also shared the Newton Area Chamber of Commerce, of which Price is the executive director, will be working with the parks department for Fourth of July activities following the parade and prior to the fireworks.

“The chamber, instead of having a massive amount of activities up on the square after the parade, we are going to move all of our normal kids and family activities out to the parks,” Price said. “We kind of felt like we were competing with the parks and that was silly, especially since we were trying to do the same thing.”

The board was also given an update of staffing changes as Unsworth departs his position on Friday. Public Works Director Keith Laube said Nick Cummins, Greens Superintendent at Westwood Golf Course, will take over running the crews at both the golf course and in the parks division as the summer season begins.

“We have seasonal staff that have been here two, three, four some up to 15 to 20 years,” Laube said. “They know what they are doing. Everybody just has to step up a little bit.”

The meeting concluded with farewell wishes for Unsworth, who is leaving to become the director of Lee County Conservation.

“Thank you for every single thing you have done since you have been here,” Price said. “You will truly be missed. You definitely left Newton a better place than when you got here.”

Unsworth also took a moment to express his thanks to the board during his final meeting.

“I would just like to say thank you all for everything that we got to do together the past few years. This group right here is one of my favorite parts of this job,” Unsworth said. “It’s been really fun to work with you all and really do some great things.”

Contact Jamee A. Pierson at 641-792-3121 ext. 6534 or

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