Local kids – and their parents – will be thrilled to hear that the PlayPlace at Waverly McDonald’s is now open for fun.
The fully renovated $750,000 space, which includes Iowa’s largest PlayPlace, officially opened on Friday even though it had been welcoming guests for two weeks.
The PlayPlace facility is twice the size of the old one, owner Scott Soifer told Waverly Newspapers.
The renovation included new flooring, new ceilings, new restrooms and the new counter service area, he added.
Started two years ago in anticipation of the 10th anniversary of the opening at the Waverly franchise’s current site, the playground, like those of all of the company’s franchises, was closed to the public during the pandemic in compliance with health guidelines.
The wait had been long, brought on by the unknowns of the pandemic, but Friday, just before Easter, was a time to celebrate what had been accomplished.
The area officially reopened with many children running through the facility as a groundbreaking ceremony was held.
Scott Soifer and his wife, Lisa, the owners of the franchise, came to town from Charles City for the occasion.
There was something to celebrate, not only for the public, but also for the owners. The Soifers’ three children love to play here, their parents said.
The Waverly PlayPlace is one of four in Cedar Valley. Oelwein, Evansdale and New Hampton also have play areas for children and they too have reopened.
Soifer, who took over the family business started by his late father, Sam, with the support and help of his late mother, Barbara, said he had a sentimental connection to the Waverly McDonald’s because he came here when he was a kid.
The original McDonald’s was in the parking lot of the Willow Lawn Mall in Waverly, but after the 500-year flood of 2008, the new restaurant at 1203 Fourth St. Southwest was built. It opened its doors in 2010.
Waverly Chamber of Commerce executive director Travis Toliver and a few chamber officials, including Tiffany Schrage and Corrie Ramige of the Waverly Health Center, attended the low-key ceremony.
A McDonald’s red ribbon was cut, as is customary in town, with the oversized scissors that Toliver uses for such occasions.
In off-the-cuff remarks ahead of the ceremony, Soifer briefly reflected on the challenges posed by the pandemic over the past two years and the uncertainty that faced his new renovation plans when the pandemic hit.
“We were there, reinvesting in the Waverly community for the long term,” he said, noting some of the challenges. “Obviously we’re thrilled about that.”
He noted that a mobile table service has been added to the play area. It allows parents to order without leaving children unattended or interrupting conversations with friends.
He said that because of the pandemic, a lot of things have changed.
“Mobile orders have resumed,” he said. “There have been a lot of changes over the past two years and we are delighted to be re-engaging with Waverly.”