Lakeland Community Church, located on Highway 67 north of Williams Bay, recently opened a new 5,000-square- foot indoor park and playground to the public. Lakeland Park was designed by Milwaukee-based GROTH Design Group, and features areas for gross motor, sensory and interactive play, as well as a basketball space, toddler space and interactive activity screen area. The park opened in January, following construction delays related to the COVID-19 global health crisis.
The $750,000 project involved the renovation and repurposing of a former 400-seat auditorium. The park contains the largest indoor play structure in Walworth County, measuring 45-by-20 feet and three stories tall. The space is filled with equipment by industry leader PlaySmart, including a 20-foot slide, 16-foot slide, challenge pad balance tracks, pendulum swings, ball pits and other playground experiences like the Dragon’s Lair, Magic Carpet and Rodeo Rider. The PlaySmart system is built on a solid steel foundation, which is then covered with the company’s patented soft webbing and padding for a safe and fun play space that maximizes social interaction and creativity. For toddlers, the park also contains an adjacent Totland soft playground designed by Soft Play. Nearby, an interactive gaming and fitness technology area designed by Axtion Technology LLC, includes a 26-foot-wide wall of video gaming screens loaded with physical fitness activities and content. A net-contained, three-point basketball court rounds out the new park.
Pastor Josh Amstutz, a father of nine, says that he was inspired to suggest the addition of the park in the church’s most recent renovation plan because he knows how difficult it can be to find physical activities for kids, especially in the winter months. “Six to nine months out of the year, it’s a tough place to live and find places to have your kids go and burn off some steam,” he explains. “It felt like all the indoor play areas that we used to have here [no longer exist].”
Amstutz says that he was looking at the auditorium space during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the church was mostly empty and services were being held online, and realized that the space would be better served as a community gathering spot when it was once again safe to do so. After consulting with GROTH Design Group, the church began fundraising among its congregation for the project. “We jumped into it and started fundraising for it, and people just stepped into it and gave generously,” he explains. “There was incredible generosity… People want to invest in children, the next generation.”
But it’s not just for kids — Amstutz says the park has benefited parents and caregivers as well, providing a space not just for their kids to play together and get some exercise, but also for adults to connect and enjoy each other’s company. “When we first opened the park to the congregation, we noticed that there were probably 70 to 80 parents just sitting around and talking and connecting with each other after services,” he explains. “That’s equally part of the win with this project, having the space to build those relationships.”
The park is free and open to the public, and is overseen by a group of volunteer “park rangers,” who greet visitors and monitor activity to ensure safety.
- Monday-Wednesday: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
- Thursday-Friday: 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
- Saturday: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
The space is also available to rent for events like birthday parties and family gatherings, for a nominal fee.