Play equipment helps community meet needs of growing school district

Children in this small town 20 miles northeast of Beatrice have a new place to play, thanks to a $25,000 donation from Exmark and their employees who installed colorful, new playground equipment July 3.

The new playground fills a pressing need in the rapidly growing Freeman School District. Previously, children in a pre-school program from ages 2 to 5 years old had to walk about two city blocks to the elementary school playground, where the equipment was rated for 5- to 12-year-olds and was not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

"This new playground provides age-appropriate equipment for all of the community's pre-schoolers, without excluding anyone," said Rick Olson, vice president and general manager of Beatrice-based Exmark. "We are proud to help the Freeman School District, where so many of our employees' children are students."

The Freeman School District purchased property closer to the preschool program, and Exmark's $25,000 donation supplied a play structure, surface, cement path and fence. Six Exmark employees braved blistering temperatures July 3 to install the equipment, which is rated for 2- to 5-year-olds and is ADA compliant.

Each year, the Exmark Community Giving Committee donates money for projects in the communities where Exmark employees live and work. The committee's first donation, in 2006, created Roszell-Exmark Park, and its 2011 donation of $25,000 went to the new Beatrice Athletic Complex.

Exmark wanted donations to reach beyond Beatrice city limits, too, so they looked this year to the Freeman School District. While most Exmark employees live in Beatrice, the second highest number of employees reside in the Freeman School District.

Exmark was incorporated in May 1982 as an independent manufacturer of professional turf care equipment. Today, it is ta leading manufacturer of commercial mowers for the landscape professional. In addition to designing, building and marketing turf care equipment, Exmark's goal is total customer satisfaction. All Exmark products, from walk-behinds to zero-turn riders and aerators, are designed to help our customers increase productivity while delivering unmatched quality. Products are sold to distributors and dealers who share our commitment to customer service and quality products.