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A new castle on the banks of the Vermillion

This castle-themed play structure will be installed next year in Rambling River Park. The city got $30,000 off the price of the structure because it will be a display model at a national parks convention in Minneapolis.

Hear ye, hear ye, all young kings and queens of Farmington! Come next summer, a new kingdom awaits ye.

The kingdom will be the royal Rambling River Park, where a new castle will be erected in the spring.

Really. A castle. In Rambling River Park.

On Monday, the Farmington City Council approved the purchase of a new playground structure for Rambling River Park. It just happens to come in the form of a really cool-looking castle. What's more, the city is getting the structure for about $30,000 off the original price.

All because of a convention.

According to Farmington parks and recreation director Randy Distad, the National Recreation and Park Association Congress will be held in Minneapolis this summer. Occasionally, the equipment manufacturers who display at the conferences would rather sell the showpieces than ship them back, so the manufactures put the equipment up for sale at a discounted price. Communities register for an opportunity to purchase the lower-priced equipment, but it's not guaranteed they will be selected.

"It was kind of a, let's see if our name gets pulled out and lo and behold, Farmington's name was pulled out," Distad said.

The manufacturer, Playworld Systems Inc. of Pennsylvania, contacted Distad with the offer. The two-story structure, with three "castle slither slides" and one "dragon spiral slide," was originally priced at nearly $90,000. However, because it is going to be a showpiece at October's NRPA convention, Playworld Systems offered it to the city of Farmington for $59,427.

Funding for the structure will come from the city's park improvement fund. It will already be in Minnesota after the convention, so there are no shipping cost involved, and Playworld includes the cost for storage of the equipment in its discounted price. Installation of the equipment won't take place until sometime late spring or early summer of 2011. The city will have to remove some of the older pieces at the park -- like the clown swing and the jungle gym -- in order to make room for the new equipment. But, Distad said, the ship equipment is going to stay in place, so Rambling River Park will have two distinct pieces of playground equipment.

"This a play structure you would want to have in a community park, because it's an attraction you would want people to come in and use," Distad said. "Plus, there's a pretty high cool factor there."

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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