FOND DU LAC - A vandalized downtown Fond du Lac park has some new playground equipment.
The older equipment at Hamilton Park was destroyed by arson in May. The playground reopened Thursday.
From slides to swings and other colorful things, the new playground equipment at Hamilton Park in Fond du Lac is a far cry from what was left after a fire in May.
And neighborhood children and their parents are already giving it a thumbs up.
"We couldn't believe that could happen, it's a real shame, but something good came out of it so that is wonderful,” said Angela Leu of Fond du Lac.
The old playground was set on fire and destroyed by what Fond du Lac police believe to be a group of people. No arrests in the case have been made. The new equipment cost around $40,000.
The park received more than $12,000 in donations. Insurance covered the rest of the costs.
Officials say the playground is essential for the downtown area.
"Inner city parks are really important because usually the yards aren't as big as they are out in the suburbs so this is really a green space for all of the residents to use,” said John Kiefer, Fond du Lac parks superintendent.
The new playground is also popular with the nearby Boys & Girls Club which walks nearly 200 kids a day over here to play at the park.
"Just to get them out and moving around. Our program and our facilities are great but we have to get them outside and this park allows us to do that,” said Dan Hebel, Boys & Girls Club Fond du Lac.
And with plenty of options to keep children entertained, people like Leu say the new playground is a welcome sight for the area.
"It's beautiful, it's very colorful and I didn't expect all of this. We had just thought the middle part was going to be replaced but this is beautiful, it's wonderful,” said Leu.
Anyone has information about the arson at the park in May, you are asked to call the Fond du Lac Police Department at (920) 322-3700.
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