Opinion

Accessible Play is now underway

On May 10 the ground was officially broken for the Beyond Accessible Play project at Evergreen Rotary Park.

The new playground will include accessible slides and swings for children of all abilities. Special surfacing and new pathways will provide wheelchair access to the playground and park amenities.

It was a very special moment that was three years in the making. There were speeches by those who started the balls rolling on this project and from local elected officials.

Oversized checks for additional funds were presented. The gold painted shovels were brought out and the dirt, or in this case, bark, was turned over as photos were snapped.

After the fanfare was done and many of the dignitaries had left, sleeves were rolled up and the real work from the remaining group of volunteers began.

As part of the overall project, volunteers are also spending their hours improving the covered picnic shelters and painting the restrooms.

The crew working on the main shelter spent a considerable amount of time on ladders removing an unknown amount of years-worth of nails, pins and staples from the wood that lines the inside of the roof.

Once it was cleaned up a new coat of varnish was rolled on. The posts for the shelter received a new coat of paint to cover the chips, scratched names and rather descriptive sayings that had accumulated over time.

Nick and I spent most of the morning with the crew working on the restrooms. I have spent numerous hours over the years in various volunteer capacities for the school district, county and city.

However, I must say that using painters tape to prep a public parks men’s restroom for painting, including around the urinal and toilet, has to be one of the most humbling and perspective changing experiences for me to date.

The restrooms turned out great. This past weekend the clean and freshly-painted facility was used quite heavily during the staging of the Armed Forces Day parade.

There were at least three different high school and or middle school bands using the park as a waiting and practice area. Lines to the bathrooms were considerable, but nearly everyone was appreciative that they were clean and functioning.

This week the old play equipment is scheduled to be removed. On Sunday June 8, there’s a second opportunity to volunteer and help out. No urinals this time, I promise. Start time is around noon.

Come out and lend a hand if you can. There is still a lot of work left to do.

Evergreen Park will remain closed to the typical types of activities one would normally expect for much of the summer. I ask again for everyone’s patience with this as the project continues.

A true community asset is in the making and you can be a part of it. The most beautiful photo opportunity is yet to come once the project is completed.

It will be the smiling faces of ALL children as they play together that will be the greatest reward.

To donate or for additional information about Bremerton Beyond Accessible Play visit www.hollyridge.org.

 

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