Kiwanis Club of Mattoon hears about the Spastic Paralysis Research Foundation
June 7, 2017

Spastic Paralysis Research Foundation board Chairman Larry Forsberg is
pictured speaking to the Kiwanis Club of Mattoon on June 7.  
The Foundtion is funded by Kiwanis Illinois-Eastern Iowa District clubs. 

Pancake Day 2013. Mattoon Kiwanis Club members pictured l to r:
Phillip Spencer, Rex Barnes and Brian Murphy.
Journal Gazette & Times Courier

Kiwanis Club sets its sights on a better Peterson Park playground; fundraiser is Saturday

MARCH 20, 2013 2:00 AM  

MATTOON — Kiwanis Club members say the almost 20-year-old playground equipment at Peterson Park is due for an upgrade.

And club member Bill Northam says as soon as the organization finished the Lawson Park playground project in 2012 it set its sights on the dated equipment in the city’s largest park.

The local club has found its signature project, which focuses on updating the city’s public playgrounds, and club member Mary Weber says this is part of the worldwide Kiwanis Club mission — “to serve the children of the world.”

“And part of our local goal was to make sure they had a safe and nice place to play,” Weber said.

The initial project started at Lawson Park because the playground was almost non-existent, Northam said. With help from the community and the city, member Carolyn Cloyd says the club is looking to install the new Peterson Park playground in August.

The new structure, which has already been purchased, is the same size as the current playground, Northam said. The organization purchased the $80,000 piece of equipment for $40,000 through a grant-like process. It is similar to the Lawson Park installment and includes a spiral slide, straight slides, a rock-like climbing feature, monkey bars, toad stools and wheelchair accessibility.
A separate structure for 2- to 5-year-old children will be installed as well.

“We did that at Lawson (Park), and it worked out well so the smaller kids have a place of their own,” Northam said.

The installation date is set far into the summer so the club can raise additional funds for auxiliary products including park benches.

Cloyd said Peterson Park might be one of the most used parks in the city, and the city has found it difficult to find parts to repair it since the equipment has aged. “It’s old enough,” Cloyd joked.

The signature project idea sprouted from club members’ visits to the playgrounds in Mattoon and surrounding communities, Northam explained.
“When you have small kids and you’re in a different community you stop at the playground and let the kids play while Mom does her shopping,” he said. “Just going to other communities, both bigger and smaller, and just seeing what they had — it was just kind of neat to be able to bring some of that to Mattoon.

“Now, when you drive by Lawson Park on a warm November day and see a dozen kids on the playground when before you would never see any, it’s worth it.”

To raise money for the auxiliary equipment, the Kiwanis Club has invited the community to a pancake breakfast from 6:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the Mattoon Middle School, 1200 S. Ninth St. The club has moved the breakfast to the middle school to involve the school’s Builder’s Club, a community service activity club similar to the high school’s Key Club, Weber explained.

For more information about the project or the Kiwanis Club, contact Cloyd at 217-234-8022. The group meets at noon on Wednesdays at Brian’s Place.

Contact Zyskowski at or 217-238-6869.