Well, it’s been a whirlwind few weeks with the playground, and the outpouring of community support is simply overwhelming. The Dream Playground Foundation/build committee has snapped back into action, as has the community. The alignment across all walks of life, ideologies, families, businesses, service groups, community officials is just incredible. Apparently, this is part of who we are and we will be danged if we will let something as trivial as a devastating fire will get us down.
First, please know that while we want to keep everyone updated, everything is a moving target and some estimates and predictions will turn out to be very short or long of the target, so some grace is necessary. Things will most certainly change.
-We’ve been checking with suppliers and our design/build coordinator, and we’re very optimistic that we can rebuild this year . The biggest issues are availability of the build coordinators through our design firm, availability of the turf installation this year, and the specialized construction material. It’s a big project. So far, all three look very promising for early/mid summer. The current version of the playground was completed in late August 2021, and dedicated on September 11, 2021.
-We have already received signups for over 250 volunteers for the community rebuild. Keep ‘em coming! We will need all hands on deck for a planned week-long rebuild using volunteer labor, just like before. And pray for no heat wave this time!
-The original build cost around $650,000. $180,000 was from public sources and local Lodging Tax grants, and the remainder was raised by the Dream Playground Foundation through private donations, local businesses, and foundation grants.
We estimate very tentatively that the materials and play surface needed for the rebuild will be in the $400,000 to $500,000 range. Material costs have gone up by about 25% on average, but there is was great deal of prep/infrastructure work that will not need to be redone.
-Amazingly, we have already received between $140,000 and $150,000 in private and business support, and we are told that more may be on the way!
-The cooperation from the city has been just excellent. They went into action immediately after the fire, and have already reached out to confirm a strong partnership with the Foundation to get our kids back on their playground.
-Speaking for our Foundation, the insurance situation is very unclear at this point. The playground always has been a partnership between the city, the Foundation, and the community. At the end of the day, it is a city facility, and the city is currently working with their insurer. We do know that there is a very large deductible for all such events and that coverage for play structures can sometimes be weak. For now we are proceeding as if we need to bear the major portion the rebuild costs. If we have excess funds after the dust settles, we may have some ability to do some neat extras, as well as to be able to plan for future replacements and improvements.
-So far, we know that there is a golf tournament brewing, as well as some REALLY neat community events that organizations have already started planning. We’ll have some playground ‘Merch’ available in the near future, and we’ll keep communicating.
It’s rainy and cold now, but when the sun peeks out again, and you long for your playground, perhaps take your little people on an different adventure:
-Check out other city playgrounds you didn’t know about: Facilities • City Facilities & Parks (cityofpa.us)
-Visit Salt Creek County Park- Salt Creek Recreational Area | Olympic Peninsula (scenicwa.com) There’s a playground AND amazing nature and hiking.
-Zip up Race Street to the NPS visitor center’s hands-on area for kids: Visitor Centers - Olympic National Park (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov)
-Take them on a walk by Hollywood Beach or the new waterfront park on the downtown waterfront together.
-Visit awesome sea creatures with them at Fiero Marine Life Center: Marine Life Center in Port Angeles Washington | Feiro Marine Life Center
Some folks have asked that we broaden our efforts to include other public parks in town. To be honest, we’ve had the same thoughts in the past, but our charter and our donors have all focused on just the Dream Playground for now, and we owe them the use of their donations as directed, and as we are organized. But keep thinking big about community recreation - it’s what makes us love this precious place.
I’m almost in tears writing this. This town doesn’t just send thoughts and prayers; it takes action. To everyone so far, Thank You Thank You Thank You.
Rise Again 2024!
-The Dream Playground Foundation