Reed City Library story walk plans move forward

Cargill grant to fund project

REED CITY – The plans for the Reed City District Library to construct a story walk at Westerburg Park are moving forward.

Reed City District Library board president Lyndsey Eccles Burchette told the Reed City city council at its meeting Sept. 21 that the site at Westerburg Park had been approved by Cargill, and they are willing to fund the entire project.

“We did get confirmation from Cargill that they are willing to fund it completely, and I’m just waiting for the check to get started,” Eccles-Burchette said. “I think it will be really nice down there.”

Originally approved by council for installation at Linear Park, a site change to Westerburg Park was approved at its meeting Aug 17.

Eccles-Burchette told council at that time that Cargill representatives expressed reservations about the appropriateness of having the story walk at Linear Park.

“They are worried about erosion along the bank, the pagodas needing repair, and the graffiti under the bridge,” Eccles-Burchette said. “These were some concerns they had, and I am afraid we won’t get the funding if we stick with that site.”

Reed City Mayor Trevor Guiles said the park has had issues with vandalism as well.

“We don’t want to put something there (at Linear Park) that will be ruined,” Eccles -Burchette said.

For a story walk, a story book is disassembled, and the pages are laminated and placed in kiosks along a walking path, for readers to walk along and follow the story.

According to information provided to the city council from Eccles-Burchette, there is a pathway along the playground area and the wooded area at Westerburg Park that will accommodate the story walk kiosks, and the park is monitored with surveillance cameras for safety.

The kisoks will start at one end of the pathway and end at the other end of the pathway. The trail will be approximately .27 miles and will take around 10 minutes to complete.

“Our plan would be to put the pages in plexiglass where they could be moved and switched out, so the stories could be changeable,” Eccles-Burchette said.

“This would be an extension of our summer reading program,” she added. “It would include prompts throughout the story to engage critical thinking and some physical activity for the reader.”

Eccles-Burchette said the purpose of the program would be to keep children reading over the summer, and to encourage people to use the city parks, as well.