TURLOCK — Dozens of people descended on Bristol Park on Saturday, leaving behind about 41,000 used milk jugs and other containers.
Fortunately, the jugs had been recycled into pieces of a new play structure, donated by the "Got Milk?" campaign and local milk processor Sunnyside Farms. Much of the work was donated, as well, with more than 50 residents turning out to help put the equipment together.
"This is really nice," said Theresa Chandler, whose family recently moved to the Bristol Park area. She volunteered Saturday with her husband, James. "I love that it's made out of recycled milk cartons."
Between them, the Chandlers have six children, the youngest of whom is 9.
"He's at an Oakland A's game today, but he can't wait to get back here and come over to see it," Theresa Chandler said.
Scott Dearaujo, director of sales and marketing for Sunnyside Farms, said the company was eager to step forward when the California Milk Processor Board broached the idea.
"We've been in Turlock for over 23 years, and we've been looking for an opportunity to give back to the community," he said.
And the city was happy to have the help.
"I couldn't believe it when they called," said parks, recreation and facilities manager Allison Van Guilder. "I kept asking, 'What's the catch?' "
The new play structure, complete with slides, bars, platforms and a tunnel, replaces an 18-year-old playground that no longer met safety codes. A city crew prepared the site Friday, and staff from Progressive Design Playgrounds supervised the volunteer work.
"This would have cost about $45,000 if the city had paid us to do the installation," said John Ogden of the playground company. "Plus another $5,000 to prepare the site."
Volunteers were treated to T-shirts and a barbecue lunch. And a strong sense of satisfaction.
"It will be neat to be able to drive by here years from now and know I helped with it," Theresa Chandler said. "Maybe my grandchildren will be playing on it one day."