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Building Playgrounds One Loader at a Time

By Jodie Carter, interim managing editor

Children stand in post-holes drilled by a donated Bobcat auger to support a play structure. The non-profit KaBoom! Corporation has raised $20 million toward building accessible playgrounds since its start in 1995. In 2003, local Bobcat dealers donated equipment to build playgrounds in 13 cities.

Bobcat dealerships across North America are teaming up with the Washington, D.C.-based KaBoom! corporation (a non-profit corporation that helps build playgrounds) to help build playgrounds for children at schools, shelters and parks throughout the United States. KaBoom! works with communities and corporations to build safe and accessible playgrounds for children who need them, and has helped construct more playgrounds (over 600) than any other U.S. service organization.

The Bobcat Company is supporting “a child’s right to play” by donating use of equipment including skid-steer loaders, 5600s with attachments and Toolcats.

“Our mission is simple: to create healthy play opportunities for young people,” said Jennie Connor, KaBOOM! project manager. “Bobcat is helping us do that by donating valuable equipment that allows our community partners to focus their resources on what’s really important–the playground.”

Local-Level Involvement

The Bobcat Company decided to donate use of its compact equipment to KaBOOM! on a “build-by-build” basis after learning about the organization’s efforts.

“We saw this as an incredible opportunity to get involved, on a local level, with a worthwhile cause,” said Gary Hornbacher, North American marketing manager for Bobcat Company. “In the end, we rely on our dealer network to donate and deliver the equipment, and we couldn't be more proud of our dealers for being so enthusiastic and generous with their time and resources.”

Bobcat dealers have teamed up with the non-profit KaBoom! corporation to build accessible playgrounds. During site-preparation work, participating dealers often donate a new skid-steer loader, an auger attachment with two bits and a bucket for drilling holes. When the playground equipment is installed, the dealer sometimes delivers a Toolcat(TM) 5600 utility work machine to the build site for the day.

Hornbacher works directly with KaBOOM! to learn where upcoming playground builds are scheduled, and then ensures all corresponding local dealers are given the chance to get involved.

Connor said not only do Bobcat dealers’ donations allow the organization to afford an extra swing or bench on each playground, but Bobcat Company’s corporate-level support also saves the organization the hassle of finding and renting equipment in each city. “Bobcat equipment is very versatile,” says Connor, “which makes it perfect for building playgrounds in confined spaces, and we couldn’t ask for better quality equipment.”

Significant Savings

KaBOOM! playgrounds vary in cost from $30,000 to more than $100,000. The budget is impacted by factors including the land’s size, site-preparation needs, the complexity of play equipment, and the safety surfacing selected. Connor said Bobcat Company donations save the organization between $350 and $500 daily.

Any individual or community who wants to build a playground can apply for assistance by visiting the KaBOOM’s! website at and answering 10 questions in the playground planner section.

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December 7, 2019, 3:46 am PDT

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