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O'Hara dream turns into project to benefit Robins residents
by Nancy Grindle Correspondent · November 9th, 2017

Daniel P. O'Hara, a senior at Linn-Mar from Robins, was one of 14 students to receive the Uncommon Student Award at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library-Museum on October 14, 2017. The proposal Daniel presented at that time is for a multigenerational playground to be added to East Knoll Park.

Daniel's project has received monetary support from both the City Council and the Robins Civic Club. The playground is expected to be created in June or July 2018.

Beginning of a dream

Daniel had visited a local senior care center. While there, he realized how often the seniors in a community are either "forgotten or neglected" by a majority of residents. In addition, with the exception of grandparents, Daniel noted, "Children are often given an unattractive view of the prospects of old age and seniors in general."

Daniel's goal was to find a way to bridge the gap between generations and also prove wrong the misconceptions which "facilitate this age segregation." His idea, a multigenerational playground at East Knoll Park, would bring together members in the community through the installation of progressive play equipment and through the side-by-side use of the playground by both young and old.

Research and

presentation of facts

Daniel began researching and found much to support his concept of the multigenerational aspect for the playground. In addition to data here in the U.S., he found studies had been conducted in other countries, including Finland and Spain, all supporting exercise and various machines to improve balance, muscle strength and tone, and overall wellness.

Daniel also investigated the mental and social impacts of parks equipped with such equipment. Everything he found points to positive results, such as better movement in adults, a sense of community, and interactivity with all age levels.

With solid support from the statistics, Daniel presented his proposal in a number of places. In addition to the Hoover Library-Museum, he approached the Robins City Council and the Robins Civic Group. Besides the Uncommon Student Award he received in West Branch, Daniel garnered strong support from the City Council, which will provide $2,500, and the Civic Club, which will provide $2,500 as well.

Need for more funding

The $5,000 from the Council and Civic Club is only part of the necessary money. Daniel's proposal estimates that at least another $5,000 will be needed.

His plan calls for an area approximately 25 feet by 33 feet in the southeast area at East Knoll Park near the swings. It would be accessible via hard-surfaced walkways and close to the preexisting playground. The total funding, while not a set figure yet, is expected to be around $10,000, and he hopes all can be done by volunteers using their own and/or donated equipment.

Daniel is hoping to meet with many organizations and provide data to companies which might support his efforts. So far, he has been in contact with Unity Point, Emery Place, the local Knights of Columbus Chapter, East-Marion Rotary International and the local American Legion Post.


While there currently are no state or federal regulations on the construction of fitness equipment at this time, the company Daniel prefers, Greenfield Outdoor Fitness, voluntarily adheres to high standards regarding construction of playgrounds. For instance, all equipment is built of high carbon steel, with welding at least two-fifths to one-half inches thick. Bearings are of cast steel with cast steel rollers and do not require re-lubrication. All parts are cold galvanized and receive two coats of pure polyester powder for rust protection, plus an additional coat for ultraviolet protection.

Daniel is looking at six pieces of equipment, which would serve 14 people all at once. He noted that residents of a nearby nursing home will be able to benefit from visiting the East Knoll Park when it has this equipment:

Four-person pendulum, abs and dips station

Two-person accessible chest press

Two-person combo lateral pull and vertical press

Single rower

Four-person leg press

Single elliptical

Daniel has selected these to help strengthen a variety of muscles and areas of the body. He is happy to share his information about equipment with others, as we have included just a little about it at this time.

If you would like Daniel to speak to your group or company, please contact him and his family via the following email address:
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