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Looking for a little loot? You might find it at Arvig Park

Do not try telling Rich Boedigheimer he cannot have fun at the playground at his age--he is having a ball. No, he is not playing on the slide or the swings, but the sandbox area at Arvig Park forms a little "Treasure Island" for Boedigheimer. He ...

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Rich Boedigheimer enjoys depositing money he might otherwise spend on lottery tickets in the playground area at Arvig Park in Perham. Brian Hansel/FOCUS

Do not try telling Rich Boedigheimer he cannot have fun at the playground at his age-he is having a ball.

No, he is not playing on the slide or the swings, but the sandbox area at Arvig Park forms a little "Treasure Island" for Boedigheimer.

He has been giving himself a kick this spring by purposefully and regularly leaving $4 worth of the money he used to blow on the lottery in the confines of the Arvig Park sandbox area.

"I'm hiding some of them, but half of them are in plain sight," Boedigheimer said.

Boedigheimer worked for 27 years in the Twin Cities. Like millions of others, he played the lottery in hopes that his ship might come in and lead him to Easy Street. It never gave much satisfaction.

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The idea of spending money not on himself but on others started when Boedigheimer was trying to get rid of some gold-colored casino coins for a relative. They were not worth anything to kids, but Boedigheimer reasoned that finding something shiny would give the kids who found them a kick. That idea gave way to the one he has been pursuing since spring arrived-dispersing a few dollars worth of loot every week just for fun.

Boedigheimer is not certain how much has been found but is positive some of it has been found. He started out leaving one-dollar bills, which he marked with the word "Lucky" and a number. He decided to get away from paper money, and lately he has been leaving dimes, quarters and half dollars for the playground set to find.

"It's giving me 10 times the enjoyment that the lottery ever did," Boedigheimer laughed.

He leaves the money in certain spots around the sandbox area two days a week.

Lining up half-dollars was a problem for a while until Boedigheimer found a bank that was able to turn $80 worth of the big coins over to him at one shot. Banks are not anxious to handle half-dollars because they are not as heavily used as quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies.

Boedigheimer amused himself after starting his little project by dropping by Arvig Park a day after leaving a four dollar cache of coins. He found only one youngster using the playground equipment. The majority of them were digging in the sand.

"It gives them a reason to dig and a reason to play," Boedigheimer laughed.

What will happen to these treasure hunters in the future? Boedigheimer has some opinions of his own.

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"Some might be rock collectors, some might be coin collectors and some might even start saving," he said.

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