A playground honoring the memory of a northwestern Iowa girl who died from abuse was dedicated Monday. “Shelby’s Playground” is within the new Elinor Bedell State Park, the first new state park in 27 years. Landscape architect Angela Corio says parts of the playground are especially designed for younger children — like Shelby.Two-year-old Shelby Duis was found beaten to death in her Spirit Lake home in January of 2000. Her mother and her mother’s live-in boyfriend were tried for the murder. The mother, Heidi Watkins, was convicted of endangerment. The playground was built through fundraising efforts of Alex Den Herder (a woman), of the Iowa Great Lakes Rotary Club. She hopes it’ll be a fitting memorial to the little girl.After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, the park was opened to hundreds of anxious kids.
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