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Viewers’ Choice For MN’s Best Playground: Litchfield’s On Lake Ripley

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(credit: CBS) Matt Brickman
Matt Brickman is the co-host of WCCO-TV Saturday Morni...
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LITCHFIELD, Minn. (WCCO) – Summer unofficially begins this weekend and for families with young kids, that means a trip to the playground.

WCCO viewers voted and their favorite playground in Minnesota is the Litchfield Community Built Playground on Lake Ripley.

The Litchfield Community Built Playground is exactly what it sounds like — practically all volunteers working together to bring the city a new playground.

And from the looks of it, they needed one.

“Nobody knows how long (the previous one had) been here,” Luke Stordahl. “It wasn’t the safest thing, wasn’t the nicest thing, so we recommended they replace it.”

Stordahl was one of the people that helped this come together so quickly. He brought the idea to city council less than a year ago.

“They kind of liked the idea, but told us to get some support,” Stordahl said. “So, over the last summer we did. Had a petition, raised a little bit of money, went back and they made a deal that if we raised $75,000 dollars, they’d match it with $70,000.”

Mayor Keith Johnson said it’s “unreal how it worked out.”

“I’m so impressed and I’m very proud to be the mayor of this community,” he said.

And the playground is a reflection of the community — many of their names are inscribed on the fence posts.

And most have a story about how they pitched in.

“Plus, you have this great sense of ownership from everyone in town,” Stordahl said. “This isn’t just Litchfield’s park. It’s our park.”

Litchfield worked with a company out of New York that specializes in these community-built playgrounds.

They said they got the design by bringing a bunch of kids in from town and asking them what they wanted in a playground.

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