MASSIVE 7-DAY ROTARY PARK BUILD CONCLUDES

Marathon Rotary Park features two play areas – one for toddlers and another for older children. SARA MATTHIS/City of Marathon

More than 400 volunteers donated 1,600 hours over seven days to rebuild Marathon Rotary Park last week. The job site was crawling with men and women, both skilled and unskilled, erecting a complicated playground with sunshades and turrets and slides and swings.  

“It was truly a group effort by Marathon volunteers and city employees,” said city manager George Garrett. “I am so pleased that the city of Marathon continues to provide for families and children. The park itself is beautiful but, more importantly, perhaps, it demonstrates the city’s commitment to locals and the locals’ involvement in the community they live in.” 

Marathon paid just over $500,000 for the equipment, design and installation leadership from Play By Design, a New York State-based company that specializes in community builds.  

The new playground replaces a structure that was built in the early 2000s with community donations and volunteer labor. The second iteration is no different. Many local companies volunteered on the build located between 75th and 76th Streets in the heart of Marathon. For example, Marathon Electric Sign and Light brought a crane to move completed cupolas to the top of the structure. Selevel Inc. drilled all of the 200-plus auger holes and spent personal time on-site during the entire build. GA Contractors, Keys Contracting Services, D’Asign Source and others also had multiple employees helping with the more skilled aspects of the job.   

Other members of the community worked around the clock to keep them fed and nourished. Restaurants donated breakfast and dinner. The Calvary Baptist Church adjacent to the playground opened its parish hall so volunteers could have lunch in air-conditioned comfort. On June 25, Keys Vineyard Church parked its food truck next to the park and dispensed drinks and treats.  

Volunteers came out in droves — off-duty Coast Guard service personnel, parents, grandparents, elected officials, political candidates, Realtors, boat captains, bankers, teachers and, of course, Marathon’s Parks and Recreation Department. 

The parks personnel were onsite every single day in full force. They mixed cement, dug holes and cut lumber to length. They also organized and recharged the hand-held tools, sorted screws and nails into plastic cups for distribution, filled water coolers and kept track of the volunteers on the busy, yet safe, job site. 

“I am so very proud of them,” said Marathon Parks and Recreation Director Paul Davis of his employees. “And just as proud of our community. We learned a lot on this build, and I don’t think we will ever have another opportunity like this one because I expect this playground to last 30 to 40 years; from my perspective, a lifetime.” 

This week, Marathon employees and a few dedicated volunteers are putting the final touches on the playground – leveling the job site and covering it with mulch that is already on site. The city is still actively soliciting sponsorships and donations to offset the cost of the build and donors can still buy fence pickets for $50 each, inscribed with a name. More information about making a donation is available by calling the park office at 305-743-6598 or in person at the Parks and Recreation Department located at Marathon Community Park, 200 36th Street, Oceanside.  

A grand opening will be scheduled soon. 

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