After 17 years of use by local kids, the play structure at Colby Lake North Park off Valley Creek Road in Woodbury needs replacing. It no longer meets industry and accessibility standards, so new play equipment, which is wheelchair-accessible, is being installed this summer.

Rather than scrapping the old play structure, however, the city allowed volunteers from the nonprofit "Kids Around the World" organization to remove the play equipment for relocation to a new park -- across the globe.

Woodbury's structure, along with play equipment from the Plymouth, will be going to Glogow, Poland, where it will be rebuilt to create a playground for children living in the southwestern Polish city next spring.

"The project is a win-win," said public service worker Amy Howard, who is one of two certified playground inspectors on the city's staff. "Having volunteers remove the play structure saves the city both staff time and disposal costs; donating it helps Kids Around the World provide the gift of play to children in under-privileged areas."

DENMARK TOWNSHIP

Volunteers organize free ice cream social

Denmark Township in south Washington County, at the confluence of the St. Croix and Mississippi rivers, is close to the metropolitan Twin Cities, yet a world apart.

Longtime resident Lyla Davies recognizes that "the days of card parties and drop-in visits, when everyone knew one another, are fading away and that many residents do not know their neighbors."

She represents two volunteer groups organizing a free ice cream social for all Denmark residents from 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, in St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park's Hilltop Shelter, 10191 South St. Croix Trail.

Davies is a former president of the Denmark Township Historical Society and a member of Denmark Homemakers. A third sponsor of the event is the Denmark Town Board, whose members will be scooping ice cream at the celebration.

There is no charge for entrance to the park, the ice cream and homemade cookies baked by the Homemakers or the bluegrass music by Lisa and Paul.

In addition, guests can win door prizes to be awarded at 7 p.m. during a short program when members of the Denmark Town Board will be introduced.

More information is available from Davies at 651-436-4493 or Pat Keller at 651-436-6738.

washington county

Grant may help county become more green

Washington County is applying to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to be a host for one of the agency's GreenCorps members.

The Washington County Board approved the application. The GreenCorps program provides opportunities for GreenCorps members to spend 11 months of service acquiring skills while supporting high-priority environmental activities.

The grant application submitted by the county proposes a partnership with the Forest Lake School District to provide assistance to implement a food waste recycling program, as well as to enhance recycling efforts, reduce paper waste and provide education on waste reduction and recycling.

The GreenCorps member would be in place from September until next July, and is expected to put in 1,700 hours of service.

The county has been host to GreenCorps members in the past, who worked in similar programs in other school districts.

Funding is provided through a grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service as well as through ServeMinnesota, Minnesota's state commission for AmeriCorps programs.

Grants sought to aid rail line development

The Washington County Regional Railroad Authority -- made up of the Washington County Board -- is submitting two grant applications for planning the Red Rock and Rush Line transit corridors, both of which run through portions of Washington County.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has authorized grant solicitations in the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program, to be known as the TIGER II Discretionary Grants. Of the $600 million available in that program, up to $35 million will be available for planning grants.

In addition, the Federal Transit Administration has announced the availability of up to $25.7 million in discretionary funds for studying transit alternatives in the form of an Alternative Analysis Livability Grant.

Both the Red Rock and the Rush Line transit corridors' current project status meet the criteria for grant applications in both programs.

The authority is requesting $3 million from the TIGER II program and $2 million from the AA Livability Grant. Both grants would require local matches, which could be provided by the local rail authority overseeing the projects or the County Transit Improvement Board, of which Washington County is a member.

newport Pioneer Day to have railroading theme

Pioneer Day, Newport's annual get-together, will be held Saturday in Pioneer Park. The parade kicks things off at noon.

Events include children's games, bingo, all-you-can-eat corn on the cob and displays of model trains.

The theme for this year's Pioneer Day will be "Railroading."

For a full schedule, go to the city's website, which is www.newport.govoffice.com.