More Beautiful Than Ever


My husband was in bed last night waiting for me to come up because I was putting some finishing touches on my daughter’s school fundraiser and picture forms when we both heard a bunch of sirens.  We live pretty close to the fire station, so we didn’t think much of it, even if it was odd that they were allowing them to wail so loudly just before midnight.  This morning a friend emailed me with the bad news, and I went to  the local newspaper’s website to see the details: our beloved community park, Imagination Station, burnt last night.

We still don’t know how it happened, but it’s obvious that this was not a natural cause – it was not lightning, and there is no electricity capable of sparking such a blaze at the park.  Unfortunately, this seems to be the work of people, and whether it was intentional or an accident remains to be seen.  At least no one was hurt physically in the blaze.  But many in the community are emotionally distraught, for Imagination Station was a wonderful park where citizens from throughout the area would spend warm summer nights, cool autumn evenings, and many a Saturday afternoon with their families and friends.  Funded by private donations and built by the hands of thousands of volunteers in 1994, it was a source of community pride.  Everyone came together to create Imagination Station; kids volunteered their cool playground ideas, while adults physically built the play equipment and still others provided thousands of meals for the builders.  The community worked together day and night, rain and shine for 6 days until it was finished.  The final product was amazing, impressing locals and out of town visitors alike.  And now much of it is gone.

Many people came out tonight to walk past the charred ruins.  In a way, it was like paying one’s respects, and many people stared at the blackened splinters in stunned silence.  There were whispers, “Who would do such a thing?” and “How did this happen?”, and one woman walked by slowly, saying quietly, “We will build it again.  And it will be more beautiful than ever.”  I believe her to be right.  People came together in 1994 and built an amazing park, and people will come together again to replace the one we lost yesterday.

“The Greeks built an Acropolis – And Noah built an Ark
The Russians built a Sputnik  But Bryan built a Park”
(Bryan Times, 1957)


There was an update in today’s (9/17/10) newspaper saying that tons of people have stepped forward and created a volunteer organization to rebuild.  It was insured, and Spangler Candy Company has stepped forward to cover any costs not paid for by insurance.  There is a Facebook page dedicated to the rebuilding of Imagination Station where people can share their memories of the park or volunteer for the rebuilding.
Unfortunately the fire investigation and the insurance company’s investigation will both take awhile, and nothing can be done until they are finished.  They hope to have the playground replaced by Spring, but that is still a long time, especially for those of us with kids.  Sure there are other parks in town, but Imagination Station was the favorite.   🙁  The little town made the big Toledo news though, they had a nice story:

8 thoughts on “More Beautiful Than Ever”

  1. I’m sure that the community will indeed band together and rebuild the marvelous park. Yes, many a good afternoon was spent in the park and surrounding area. Curious… to which park does your quote refer?

  2. When I read that Imagination Station was completed in 1994, I could not believe that it had been that long. 10 years, maybe but not more than 15. WOW!

  3. Good question Jamiahsh about the quote – I don’t really know; I found it on the Parks and Rec website and have always liked it. I was assuming that it just meant all the parks in the city since there are a lot. Upon further research, I see that the quote was published in 1957, and at that time there was Garver Park (built 1909), Moore Park (built 1937), Mattie Marsh Park (built 1954), and Hitt Park (built 1956). I was thinking the quote was referencing the humongous Recreation Park (which includes Imagination Station), but the website does not say what year gave us Recreation Park.

  4. Maybe they should change the nickname to Park City. Where are the fountains? A good area to live with lots of places to enjoy nature. I have always thought the recreation park was a beautiful area.

  5. Wow, sad news indeed. Well, now you have a chance to participate in the rebuilding since you weren’t there in 1994. And time for a new (half-)generation of kids to use their imaginations to create IS 2.0.

    The WINGS store over here remains a charred ruin for now, but response in its case too has been strong and they will be opening a new store soon, albeit in a different location.

  6. I was going to write a blog about this, but with this one, I didn’t need to. I remember working on that park back in ’94. Move a lot of the mulch. They had fund raisers. People would collect outside of the local stores. I remember taking my girls to that park when it first opened. From the 3 year old to the 13 year old, there was something for all of them.

    Sad day for the area.

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