Chimes sound at new musical playground in Alexandria's Big Ole Central Park

Alexandria Mayor Sara Carlson (middle) joins Alexandria Rotary Club members Larry Zilliox and Julie Stern at the opening of the new musical playground in Big Ole Central Park. (Al Edenloff / Echo Press)

The Alexandria Community Musical Playground at Big Ole Central Park opened on an upbeat note Thursday, June 25.

Under a sunny blue sky, the Alexandria Rotary Club celebrated the near completion of its playground project and thanked all those who donated or played a part in making it all come together.

Rotarians and their family members also had a chance to test out the new instruments.

The club thanked city leaders and Parks and Maintenance Director Bill Thoennes for their support. In response, Alexandria Mayor Sara Carlson said the club was easy to work with and the final result went “above and beyond” the city’s expectations. “It’s a great addition to this park,” Carlson said.

Ownership of the playground will be transferred to the city.


Rotarian Larry Zilliox said that soliciting funds for the park was difficult during the COVID-19 restrictions but the club hit its goal, raising $15,000 from the community, which matched the club’s contribution to the project.

Julie Stern, Rotary president, was applauded for her efforts in spearheading the project.

Vicki Bill was also recognized for donating a bench at the playground in honor of her husband, Jim Bill, a longtime Rotarian.

Alexandria Rotary Club member Rick Paulsen and his grandchilden tried out the instruments at the new musical playground at Big Ole Central Park Thursday. (Al Edenloff / Echo Press)

Al Edenloff is the editor of the twice-weekly Echo Press. He started his journalism career when he was in 10th grade, writing football and basketball stories for the Parkers Prairie Independent.
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