St. Helens welcomes new playground equipment at its biggest park
Although the grand opening isn't scheduled until Saturday, Aug. 7, kids can now enjoy brand new playground equipment at McCormick Park in St. Helens.
After a few delays, the new playground, expected to be one of the largest all-abilities playgrounds in the Pacific Northwest, is now a big attraction at the largest park in the city.
The new playground equipment came into existence, in part, by a $37,000 grant from the Portland Trail Blazers and Moda Health.
The total cost of the project, including installation, was estimated earlier this year at a little under $300,000.
The old playground equipment was removed in March, but there were a few delays in getting the new equipment installed.
City engineer Sue Nelson noted in March that the delivery was slightly delayed by weather. The new equipment, she said, was to have been installed the beginning of May, but the equipment was put on a train, instead of on a truck, to handle the weather at the time.
The playground is meant to be enjoyed by all children, including those with developmental or intellectual disabilities.
"What it does is it creates a space where everyone can play together, for all abilities," St. Helens parks and recreation manager Shanna Duggan said. "It has ramps, it has swings that folks can use. There's a pirate ship on one of the sites that you can put a wheelchair in and rock back and forth. It just creates a really good atmosphere for everyone to be able to do group play."
However, if any youngsters feel nostalgic about the old playground, the city announced that the older equipment has been donated to Snoopeeland Child Development Center in St. Helens.
St. Helens officials are asking parents and kids to take special care in accessing the new playground, for the time being.
Visitors are asked to stay off the ground surrounding the playground while grass is being established. Walking in the area will damage grass and cause delays before fencing is fully removed and the entire area is opened.
According to the city, the contractor still has some maintenance work to complete on the play equipment and the curb surrounding the playground.
Duggan is happy to see kids and parents enjoying the new playground.
"One of our priorities is to make safe, accessible playgrounds and spaces for our community," Duggan said. "This is definitely in line with that. I think this is one of the largest accessible playgrounds in the Northwest."
Duggan said the playground "will be a safe place for a community to gather and bring their kids of all abilities to be able to play together and build that community that we're trying to build out here."
The new playground can be fun for both kids and parents, although the play structure itself is designed for ages 12 and under.
"There is a lot of opportunity for parents to be out on the playground with their youth," Duggan said, adding, "It does create a good family environment."
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