NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD) — Friday was a celebratory day for Colene Hoose Elementary School. After four years of discussion, design and construction the Isle and Charlie Jobson Natural Playground is finally open.
The playground, is how Charlie Jobson decided to give back to his elementary school. At the celebration he gave the children words of hope.
“I hope by being close to the natural world the kids can be guardians of nature in the future. I hope by being close to the natural world they realize they’re not alone and they’re not separate from other people,” said Jobson. “And they can use their imagination and creativity to create their own games on this park. And this park is for every individual child.”
Present at the celebration were school board members Alex Williams and Amy Roser along with State Representative Sharon Chung. Jim Mayer, who played for Jimmy Buffet’s Coral Reef Band, played a few songs for the students.
“The energy of the kids today was so hopeful and encouraging and just to see the kids with all their energy made it all worthwhile.”
The $5.1 million project which includes a number of years of upkeep costs was completely funded by the Jobson Family Foundation. Dr. Kristen Weikle, Superintendent of Unit 5 Schools, said the school district is extremely appreciative of Jobson’s donation.
“We would not be able to do this without the generosity of that gift. No Unit 5 dollars were spent to create and install this beautiful natural playground that not only our students but the community at large can enjoy after school hours and on weekends and when school’s not in session.”
There is a celebration for the public on Saturday from noon to 4 pm.