SIDNEY, Neb. — Sidney children had their first opportunity to swing, climb, and play at the new playground at Legion Park in Sidney on Tuesday.

The Sidney Park Project Committee, along with many donors cut the Ribbon to the new all-inclusive park at 8 a.m. Tuesday morning in front of many community members and kids.

Sidney Park Project President Madi Wilkinson said “It’s amazing that they’re going to have this in their childhood memories and be able to say we had this awesome playground and I hope it’s something that they are able to take with them into their next steps of life.”

The group raised over $700,000 in under a year. They reached their fundraising goal and then raised enough extra money to pave the parking lot at the playground as well.

Sidney Park Project Vice President Ally Benzel said, “We’ll get the donor wall put in that’s coming in October, we’re really excited to highlight everybody who helped make this park happen.”

Wilkinson said not everybody was sure they would achieve this large goal.

“It was a big dream to start with, I think that made people hesitate at first, as far as supporting it,” Wilkinson said. “But that dissolved quickly once things got rolling and people saw how fast and serious we were about this project.”

The Sidney Park Project group made a good team. Benzel said Sarah Sinnett helped with the business plan and finances, and Jeremy Lee helped with the construction side of the park.

Benzel said the Nebraska Community Foundation helped them figure out funding and Wilkinson said the Sidney Donor Advise Fund helped them kick start the project and told them to dream big.

“We’ve been blown away by the support of the community," Benzel said. "This was a really big idea, a big price tag, and everyone really supported us, whether it was through their volunteer time, talent, or financially, it’s a huge win and fun to see everything come together.”

Wilkinson and Benzel said it feels good seeing all the kids play on the new playground.

“It makes everything worth it,” Wilkinson said. “It’s so cool to finally see everyone enjoy it and everything pay off for them.”

“It’s fun to hear the giggles and what everyone is excited about and all the play that’s happening,” Benzel said.

Community member John Sheets said he loves the new all-inclusive playground.

“The new park fits everybody and it’s perfect for little ones, big ones, even if you’re a teenager,” Sheets said.