Massive playground build-out set to go

It’s a little bit of Disneyland in Kitsap County.

Plans for the new KitsapKids playground at the Fairgrounds are ambitious.

About 14,000 square feet in size — 220 feet long by 70 feet wide — with 2,000 volunteers to build it — in just six days.

Twelve-hour days, at that.

“We have 3,025 shifts to fill,” said coordinator Paulette DeGard, explaining that no one person, other than a few overseers, will be on-site the whole 12 hours.

“We’ve got 1,000 volunteers already signed up,” she said Wednesday, May 22. “We need another 1,000 by Tuesday, May 28.”

DeGard seemed unfazed by the task of enlisting another 1,000 people to wield hammers and saws. She said the ground is prepped with gravel and materials are on-site at Stampede Boulevard and Fairgrounds Road.

“There’ll be 120 to 150 people working at any given time the first couple of days,” she said. “There’ll be 350 working the weekend.”

The playground is to be built between Tuesday, May 28, and Sunday, June 2, by KitsapKids, a group started by the Silverdale Rotary Club.

Designing began in October of last year. Hundreds of local kids participated in contributing ideas to architects.

The contractor, Leathers and Associates, travel around helping to design and build these playgrounds on a fast-track schedule, to save time and money.

“If you’ll build it, we will come,” is Leathers’ motto, DeGard said.

It’s still expected to cost $250,000 in donated cash, materials and labor, she said. Organizers are $25,000 short — but hope to be fully funded by June 2.

“We’re just not seeing as many donations of cash from citizens in the community,” she said. “Corporate involvement, on the other hand, has been great.”

Fifty-six companies have chipped in cash, materials, services or labor. Only nine out of a total of 75 contributors are private citizens. The rest are non-profit clubs and organizations. The project is heavily sponsored by area Rotarians.

“We need more citizens to come in and buy a ‘picket’ for the picket fences,” she said, “and buy a ‘brick.’”

“There’ll be swings, of course, and slides,” said DeGard. “There’ll be a sand box for the little ones. We’ll have an obstacle course and (jungle gym).... It’s actually designed to give kids a full workout.” Other features will include a miniature castle with turrets and a treehouse.

“It’s a ‘barn raising,’” she said. Organizers plan an opening ceremony Sunday, June 2.

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