Stevens Point Kiwanis

The echo of kid’s laughter and shouts of joy once filled the vacant property of the former Emerson school. Since the demolition of Emerson School in the early 2000’s, this site has been idle waiting to be transformed into a safe, recreational hub in the core of the City. Emerson is the only public park located in the center our city in a densely populated neighborhood surrounded by compact residential lots. These compact lots create increased demand for families to seek out Emerson park as their play space. Within a half mile of Emerson park there are countless family day care centers, and more than half dozen public and private schools. Many of the schools and child centers have little or no green space. In this urban core of Stevens Point, children have a greater need for public, outdoor, recreational space. Input was sought from the community and the overwhelming response indicated the site needed a new, vibrant playground that is inviting to our entire community. Vision for Emerson; wide open space for spontaneous play, modern playground for children of all ages, and multipurpose athletic court for basketball, tennis and pickleball. The Legacy of Play playground award will allow an underserved population greater access to a safe place to play. Emerson park is a community effort to revitalize green space for all. Input, planning and support of local citizens, philanthropist and community groups is closing the gap on the fundraising goal and vision to revitalize and transform the old school lot.

Additional Information

American Transmission Company, City of Stevens Point, the Community Foundation of Central Wisconsin, the Community Parks Improvement Committee, Delta Dental, the Elks Lodge #641 of Stevens Point, Jefferson Elementary Administration & Staff, Kiwanis Club of Stevens Point, Old Main Neighborhood Association, Pacelli School Administrators, Rettler Corporation, Stevens Point Area Co-op, St. Paul\'s Lutheran School, Wisconsin Public Service Foundation.
Kiwanis Club of Stevens Point along with The Friends of Emerson Park would ensure our playground is installed by October 31, 2022 by working with the City of Stevens Point Parks Department. The City Parks Department has a certified playground safety inspector on staff who specializes in all things playgrounds. The City Parks Department works with multiple playground vendors annually to install new equipment at various parks throughout the park system. Once this grant is awarded, Kiwanis club of Stevens Point, The FoEP and the City will meet immediately after the grant award notice and begin working through the ordering process for the equipment. Once the equipment is ordered, we will work together with the playground manufacturer to schedule and coordinate proper installation according to ASTM standards. The City has agreed to assist with anything required for installation. By taking this proactive team approach, the playground will be installed long before the October 31, 2022 deadline.
Emerson Park is located in the heart of Stevens Point. For over 100 years, the Emerson parcel served as a school site with the last school building demolished in 2002. From 2002 to 2018, the site was left vacant and minimally maintained by the School District, until the establishment of Emerson as a City Park in 2018. Until the creation of Emerson Park there were no public parks in the center of Stevens Point with a majority of parks nestled on the City’s periphery. An estimated 5,000 residents, including a diverse economic mix of families, live within a mile of Emerson Park. The neighborhood surrounding Emerson has a higher population density than other parts of our City, and a higher concentration of families living in poverty. Two blocks from Emerson, at Jefferson Elementary, over 50% of students qualify for free or reduced school lunch. We believe public playgrounds bring value and vitality to neighborhoods and that vibrant city parks are central to the health, safety, and prosperity of our community. In this divisive time, parks are literally common ground: They unite us and keep us connected despite differences in age, background, beliefs or ability. Families in our city deserve equitable access to public playgrounds and parks. The Legacy of Play playground award would greatly assist in revitalizing the park, improve livability in the adjoining neighborhoods, and provide underserved children, students, and families access to a modern playground. Emerson park will be maintained by Stevens Point Park and recreation along with Kiwanis and other local groups that have invested in the park project. Emerson park will be a collaboration effort amongst community groups maintaining flower beds, hosting tournaments, and encouraging outdoor activities. Phase 1 of Emerson park we estimate about $275,000 with more than half raised and remaining dollars just awaiting for approval.