Isaac’s dad, Greg, tells stories of growing up in Bayfield when kids outnumbered adults. Summer days were spent playing outside. Pop-up games of red light green light, kick the can, and sandlot baseball happened daily.
Other days were spent rummaging for go-kart parts in the city dump. They would take hours to build the perfect go-kart before sending it down Washington Avenue. And fingers crossed the wheels would stay on.
Summer days like these were all that any Bayfield kid worried about.
During this time in history, all of Bayfield was a child’s playground. The only time the fun would end is when someone’s mom would call out the back door, “It's time to come home for dinner.”
In the winter months, city kids took advantage of Bayfield’s many hills to go sledding. The lack of four-wheel drive in the 60s shut down some of its steepest streets. Cooper Hill or Manypenny Avenue – was the best sledding hill in all of Bayfield County!
Unfortunately, these days are gone. Four-wheel drive is prevalent and helmets are worn for almost every activity. Many of Bayfield’s homes are now vacation homes and adults outnumber kids. But for the families that live here, it's the playgrounds that are vital in helping maintain a sense of community.
If you’re visiting Bayfield and you have children you know there’s nothing that catches their eye faster than a playground. For many parents, it’s a moment of peace as kids entertain themselves and each other. Kids burn off energy. Parents can survive another day.
And unfortunately, the days of letting our children play unsupervised are nearly gone. Making our public playgrounds vital to our communities – offering a safe place for children and their families to play.
Bayfield’s Playgrounds Need Your Help
Bayfield is host to 2 public playgrounds. Cooper Hill Park or “the red park" sits off the intersection of Manypenny Avenue and State Highway 13. The East Dock Park or “the coast guard park,” is nestled between the Apostle Islands Marina and the U.S. Coast Guard station on Lake Superior.
Both Cooper Hill Park and East Dock Park were renovated over 20 years ago. Since then they've been host to wooden ramps, balance beams, zip lines, swings, slides, and a lookout tower that replaced the metal playground equipment of the 80s and 90s.
These two playgrounds have hosted thousands of children over the years. Children have climbed up to the highest platform and slid down the curving blue slide at the East Dock Park.
They have acted out short plays and put on dance recitals on the stage at Cooper Hill Park. They've laughed, played, and even cried over a scrape on their knee. Or simply because they had to leave.
But now these two fantastic parks are looking a bit dreary. Time and weather have taken their toll on the wooden structures. Rot is visible and parts are coming loose or have fallen completely off. Some structures are no longer usable or safe to play on.
A small group of Bayfield parents and community members are working together to raise money to renovate these 2 parks. For those that live here, it’s an investment in future generations. A commitment to helping Bayfield be a place that supports the families who live here.
For young families who visit it’s a safe and welcoming place to let their children run and play.
It’s a place where:
You can eat your ice cream cone.
Hear voices shouting “push me higher!”
And watch a game of tag and kids digging in sandboxes.
For me and Isaac who have 3 boys ages 5 and under it's a place we can walk to after dinner and burn off some extra energy. A place where we can leave the cares of the motel behind and enjoy precious moments as a family.
And in this modern era of screens, technology, and constant stimulation – playgrounds have never been more important.
The type of sensory input that playgrounds provide for our children is vital. Activities like climbing, crawling, swinging, pushing, and balancing all help to calm and organize a child’s nervous system. This regulates their bodies and aids in their skill development.
We NEED our playgrounds. And we NEED them to be safe and functional.
Bayfield’s Playground Fundraiser
Our community’s ultimate goal is to raise $180,000 over the next 2 years. This money will be used to completely renovate both Cooper Hill Park and East Dock Park.
With the support of our community and others, we have raised $35,000 so far. We are thankful for this amazing start and overwhelming support, but as you can see it’s not enough.
Please join us and other Bayfield families for a fundraising event on June 5, 2022. This event is located at the Dock Shop and the Lakeside Pavillion from 10 am to 12 pm.
At the Dock Shop, adults will enjoy a light brunch prepared by Cooking with Lars and beverages from the Bayfield Inn.
A silent auction will be held as you sip, taste, and socialize with others.
The Lakeside Pavillion will offer fun activities, games, and supervision to kids of all ages. Parents are encouraged to drop off their children while they are attending the festivities at the Dock Shop.
All are welcome. Come and help rebuild Bayfield’s Playgrounds.
Make sure and plan to stay a little longer to observe the annual Blessing of the Fleet next door at Memorial Park at 1 pm. Celebrate Bayfield’s future and Bayfield’s historic past all within a few hours.
Unable to join us, but still want to help? CLICK HERE to donate to our playgrounds through the city of Bayfield’s website.
With a heartfelt appreciation,
Mollie, Isaac, Axel, Ridge, and Banks