Lake Zurich mayor accepts donated sign naming new playground, gives flowers to girl in return
Lake Zurich Mayor Thomas Poynton came bearing flowers for a special visitor at this week's village board meeting.
Poynton presented the colorful bouquet to 8-year-old Hailey Thorp, who thought of the name for a new playground at Paulus Park. Hailey received the flowers after giving a brown Lakeside Lookout Playground sign to Poynton.
In June, a party that included prizes, children's games, a disc jockey, cake and ice cream was held to open the playground. Lake Zurich Recreation Manager Bonnie Caputo said the tree house-style structure, with slides and other amenities, is handicapped accessible and was designed in a way to encourage creative play.
Caputo told the village board Monday night the community then was tapped to name the new area after the celebration.
"We even went back to our day camp and collected over 200 names," Caputo said. "At the end, we surveyed not only our management team, but we also surveyed our campers to decide what a great, appropriate name would be for that park."
In the end, Hailey's Lakeside Lookout Playground was deemed the winner. Paulus Park abuts the village's namesake lake.
Hailey politely declined to speak when asked by Poynton after she handed the sign to him. Poynton then briefly left Hailey standing near the village board dais, telling her to not go anywhere.
"These are for you," Poynton said as he returned and presented the flowers to Hailey. "They're from myself and the board of trustees. Thank you for the naming of the park. We appreciate it. And every time we look at that sign, we'll see your name."
The sign reads: "Lakeside Lookout Playground. Name contributed by: Hailey T."
Outside the village board meeting room, Rob Thorp said he and his wife, Paula, purchased the sign and donated it to Lake Zurich so it wouldn't take until next year for the playground to be identified with the new name.
"I knew they (the village) were having budget constraints," Rob Thorp said.
Lakeside Lookout Playground replaced Kids Kingdom Centennial Playground, which opened amid much fanfare at Paulus Park in May 1996. Escalating repair costs and deterioration of the facility were cited by the village as the problems with the castle-themed Kids Kingdom.
Similar to an old-fashioned barn raising, Kids Kingdom was constructed in five days by about 1,000 volunteers to celebrate Lake Zurich's 100th birthday. It was designed by Robert Leathers, who at the time was a renowned recreational architect.
Kids Kingdom originally featured pirate ships, an Elvis maze, lighthouse, stage, sandbox, obstacle course, swings and the castles.