Award-winning Kayla’s Playground nominated for another

Here in Franklin we’re extremely proud of Kyla’s Playground, voted the best park in the Milwaukee area.

The city of Franklin and Kayla’s Playground was the recipient of a 2016 Salute Award by the Public Policy Forum in the category of “Public-Private Cooperation.”

Kayla’s Krew/Kayla’s Playground was also nominated for a 2016 Gladfelter Award. Even though Kayla’s Krew/Kayla’s Playground didn’t win in this competition, its consideration demonstrates how vital the playground is to Franklin and its visitor.

The Gladfelter award is given to non-elected municipal, county, state, or federal employees who, through their careers or through a specific innovation, have helped solve a problem for Wisconsin residents and improved public service.

The city of Franklin via Mayor Steve Olson nominated Kayla’s Krew/Kayla’s Playground. Here is the required narrative that was submitted with the nomination:


Kayla’s Krew focused on building a playground in Franklin featuring inclusion for all abilities. The project was unique. Playgrounds in Franklin and surrounding areas have almost no inclusive components. Kayla’s Krew committed to obtaining the most inclusive equipment on the market to include all abilities in play activities.

Kayla’s Krew teamed with many public and private sector partners including local businesses, schools, groups, organizations, and churches.

Kayla’s Playground was built by the community in 9 days with almost 2,000 citizen and business volunteers (many from outside Franklin, coming from as far away as Hawaii) who worked with paid and volunteer Department of Public Works employees.  Citizens worked in three shifts per day alongside the mayor, elected officials, fire and police chief, DPW, planners, secretaries, police officers and fire fighters.

The 12,000 square foot all-accessible, all-inclusive playground was completed on September 27th, 2015 with a ribbon cutting on October 9, 2015. More than 1,000 citizens, children and public officials attended.  Now children in wheelchairs regularly line up to use the only wheelchair accessible swing, the Liberty Swing, offered in Milwaukee and Waukesha County that does not require the user to get out of the wheelchair to swing.  Visitors come even in the winter. Volunteers routinely take time to make sure the area is neat and clean.

This community building program provided facilities that teach, treat and offer safe, fun recreation environment for everyone, regardless of physical ability. This effort certainly would not have been generated by a municipality on its’ own.

A team of public employees in Washington and Ozaukee counties along with two co-workers at the Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) will receive 2016 Lloyd D. Gladfelter Awards for Government Innovation on Thursday, February 2. Kirsten Johnson, Thomas Meaux, and Joshua Schoemann will be honored for their efforts to combine the Health Departments in Washington and Ozaukee counties, while ETF employees Tarna Hunter and Shelly Schueller will be recognized for developing a statewide campaign to raise awareness about the retirement savings gap facing women.
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Established in 1999, the awards are made possible through a generous gift from the family of Lloyd D. Gladfelter, a 1926 University of Wisconsin–Madison alumnus and former government reporter at the Milwaukee Journal. The La Follette School of Public Affairs at UW–Madison administers the award.

Nominations are judged on their creativity, feasibility, and potential impact. The 2016 recipients were selected from dozens of projects nominated for the creative ideas and money-saving efficiencies people expect from government at all levels. The awards will be presented during the La Follette School’s annual reception for alumni and friends on February 2, 2017, at the Madison Club.

“These projects demonstrate public employees’ tremendous commitment and dedication to their communities and state,” said La Follette School Director Don Moynihan. “Based on the wide range of nominations, it’s clear that high-impact innovations are happening throughout the state.”

Everyone associated with Kayla’s Krew/Kayla’s Playground should be proud of being nominated and considered for such a prestigious award.


One thought on “Award-winning Kayla’s Playground nominated for another

  1. Pingback: My Most Popular Blogs (01/30/17) | This Just In… From Franklin, WI

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