WAPAKONETA — When kids play at the playground, you don’t normally equate that with playing musical instruments.
At Belcher Park in Wapakoneta, there’s new equipment allowing youngsters to play music.
The Freenotes Harmony Park is a legacy project spearheaded by the Riverside Arts Center in honor of the late Auglaize Municipal Court Judge Gary W. Herman.
“He was a member of Riverside Art Center,” said Deb Fischer, a member of the Riverside Art Center board. “He loved this community. He was very fond of music so we thought about this project two years ago, before COVID and then COVID happened so we had to wait. That gave us more time to plan and organize for this wonderful project.
On Saturday, dedication ceremonies for the new equipment were held and featured local percussion students playing music.
“We now have 16 musical instruments and there are a few more on the radar,” Fischer said. “It has been an especially fun project to work on because it benefits the entire community by engaging children and adults alike in our downtown park. It also honors Judge Herman and his lasting commitment to our community. We want to thank all of our generous sponsors and volunteers who made this project possible.”
The new play space blends the positive power of music with the riverside playground and picnic area. The instruments are durable and low maintenance, made of recycled plastic.
One of the first people to sponsor an instrument was Terry Blosser.
“It was a good project for the city and the kids in town. I dedicated one of the butterflies to my wife because she was within the art center and also she was musically inclined and I’m not,” Blosser said.
Another sponsor, Mary Petty, wanted to do something to honor her 15-year-old son.
“I think it’s a wonderful project. Anything for the kids. I did this a memory of my son, Ryan Petty, who’s been gone for quite some time,” Petty said.
Ryan Petty was stabbed to death in December of 1987.
Supporters of the Riverside Art Center’s Freenotes Harmony Park, help cut the ribbon Saturday at Belcher Park.
Juliet Wheeler (left) and Molly Hansen, students at Wapakoneta High School, play some of the instruments at Freenotes Harmony Park, inside of Belcher Park in Wapakoneta.
Reach Sam Shriver, reporter at 567-242-0409.