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All the world's a playground as KitsapKids project becomes reality

It’s open!

Long in the planning and quick in the building, KitsapKids Playground at Fairgrounds Road and Stampede Boulevard N.W. is finished, and open for business.

Kid business, that is. There’s no charge to get in, you just have to be a kid who loves swings, slides, a sand box (for the little ones), an obstacle course, jungle gym, miniature castle with turrets, and a treehouse.

The last two items — castle and treehouse — were lifted into place with a crane Sunday morning. The park opened officially last Sunday, June 2, at 6 p.m. with a small ceremony.

Actually, said Keith Hazen, one of many corporate volunteers, the ceremony was not so small.

“We must have had 450 people here Sunday evening,” he said, “plus a ton of kids running all over the place.”

Hazen, who works for Concurrent Technologies Corp. in Bremerton, said the playground is mostly done — with just a little clean-up and some minor details to finish.

“We’ve been working on getting (donated) tools back to people,” he said, “and cleaning up. We still have to apply a little roofing on a picnic pavilion. And hand tiles are still being (kiln) fired and hung on site.”

Selling hand tiles, personalized bricks and personalized “pickets” for picket fencing are just a few of the ways Kitsap Kids is hoping to collect the remaining cash still owed on the project.

The entire project cost about $250,000. At last count, all but $25,000 had been collected. Hazen said they won’t know how close they are to having reached their goal until they tally-up funds sometime this week. He feels they may be a bit short.

“We’ll be continuing fundraising,” he said, adding he has no doubt the rest of the funds will come.

The playground is on Fairgrounds’ property and will be under the county’s jurisdiction. Hazen said the KitsapKids group is working on arranging long-term maintenance through the county parks department.

The playground is about 14,000 square feet — that’s 220 feet long by 70 feet wide. Plans began in October — asking kids to help design it. Other prep work included clearing trees and brush, and leveling the ground. Close to 2,000 volunteers built the playground itself during 12-hour days with four-hour shifts, May 28 to June 2.

Bill Wright, CEO of Internet service provider Donobi, who acted as supervisor for volunteers, commented it was an impressive project.

“I think it’s a destination playground in our community. Something we can all be proud of. It’s a safe playground for the kids of today and the kids of the future. It was built to last.”

Who made it all possible?

Fifty-six companies contributed cash, materials, services or labor. Only nine out of a total of 75 contributors were private citizens or couples. The rest were non-profit clubs and organizations.

Non-profits played a big role. The project was heavily sponsored by area Rotary.

To contribute, send checks to KitsapKids, Post Office Box 2325, Silverdale WA 98383. The Web site is kitsapkids.org. Or call Donobi, the supervising company, at 337-7939.

Sponsors included Silverdale Rotary, Kitsap Community Federal Credit Union, Poulsbo/North Kitsap Rotary, Silverdale Sunrise Rotary, Telebyte NW, Parker Lumber, Verizon Wireless, Web design Northwest. Beyond Balloons, Westcoast Siverdale Hotel, KItsap Mall, Over the Hill Ceramics, Oregon Tile and Marble, NW Screen Printing, Farrell’s Home Health, The Mentor Co., Cimarron Hotel, Cooper Fuel, Professional Firefighters of Kitsap County, Waves Styling Design, Children First Montessori, Sprint, Kitsap Sheriff’s Posse, Gold Medal Marketing, Donobi, Eagle’s Nest Catering, Kitsap County Parks and Recreation, Silverdale Accounting Services, Tom Wagner, Huddleston McKenzie & Associates, Sysko Foods, Food Services of America, Kitsap Golf & Country Club, Town and Country Thriftway, Poulsbo Market Thriftway, Central Market Thriftway, Silverdale Bank, United Rentals, Zeeta’s Kettle Corn, N.W. Chapter Hudson Essex Terraplane Club, Albertson’s, L&R Automotive, Peninsula Subaru, Makita, Kitsap Association for the Education of Young People, Parker Auto Supply, Ace Paving Co., Morrison Gravel, Kitsap Ready Mix, Tacoma Screw, KItsap Bank, Novus Windshield Repair, Tim and Barbara Botkin, Bill and Kathy Sanford, Kentucky Fried Chicken/Orchard Foods, Taco Bell/Orchard Foods, Burger King/Sound City Foods, Pepsi Cola/Seven-up and the Bremerton Bottling Co., Rice Fergus Miller Architecture and Planning, Bank of America, and Domino’s Pizza, among others.

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