[Editor's note: Patch returned Monday evening to get a look at the progress of the team from Lasting Impression in laying down the colored topcoat of the Hart Park Playground. The tan surface coat was nearly half done, and the new pictures accompanying show how the finished playground will look.]
A quiet Mother's Day morning visit to Hart Park Playground turned a bit boisterous when the Bay City Rollers showed up.
Not the Scottish pop band, but a band of brothers-in-arms from Bay City, Mich., charged with laying down the "poured-in-place safety surface" for the playground.
Working on Sunday?
"We're just trying to get home," said Scott Burgesss, owner of Lasting Impression Safety Surface out of Bay City. "We go all over the country doing this."
The four-man team is doing its part to prepare the playground for a "Step into Pre-Settlement Wauwatosa" grand opening announced by the city for 1 p.m. June 8.
They will roll out barrels of colored rubber over the next few days to create the surface for fun at Hart Park. Burgess said a fifth team member – Connie O'Connor, his business partner and office manager back in Bay City – also deserved credit because if not for her, "We wouldn't be here."
Kids of all ages will be greeted by a playscape of modern artifacts designed for clambering and exploration as if they had stumbled into Tosa before it was Tosa.
Giant trees, some upright, some fallen, one frozen in a moment of being carved into a dugout canoe – all invite children to crawl and climb, and even to fall as much as 8 feet.
"We're making the playground safe for the kids, making it look great for... Wisconsin... I can't say the city's name," said Dominic Hartwick of Lasting Impression.
"I can't even pronounce that if I tried."
Wau-wa-whatever. The guys were laying down the safety surface that will make any fall a part of the fun.
"It's recycled rubber," Hartwick said. "We lay it down and it's basically a padding. It's like a rubber flooring for kids. It's safer than gravel, sand, wood chips – you know, they fall, they bounce up, do flips, land on their feet.
"It's safer for the kids, it looks great for the playground. It's better than any other kind of flooring you can put down, and it lasts."
The play pieces are all in place, and with the surface going down, the June 8 opening is in sight.
The standard play structures have been in place for a while, with plenty of slides and ladders and ramps that make all accessible to everyone. A splash pad is also nearly complete.
Burgess and his crew have already laid down a thick sub-layer of shredded black rubber and were just beginning Sunday to put on a top layer of colored surfacing.
"We should have probably four days on the top layer," Burgess said.
That's if Shaun Boucher can keep up. He's the newest member of the team, and as such he's charged with slashing open bags of shredded rubber and binder and pouring them into the hot mixer.
"This utility knife is molded and stuck to my hand for the last four days," he said. "I have to be careful in the shower. There's X's all over me."