Wildwood Park is sporting brightly coloured new playground equipment, in case you haven’t visited the site lately at the corner of Division Street and Boyer Avenue.
More than a year of planning, several contributing partners and numerous volunteers made it happen, reported Maryann Cole with Walla Walla Noon Rotary Club (Washington, US — D 5080), which stewarded the project.
Rotary and friends attended a ribbon-cutting celebration there on Nov 30.
Past Rotary President Chris Coates led the major capital project, which stemmed from a casual conversation with a member of the park neighbourhood.
“I was curious about what was already in the park and went to take a look. It did not take long to realise that playground equipment and other improvements were greatly needed,” Chris said.
Wildwood Park hosts children’s programmes through the city of Walla Walla and Camp Fire Walla Walla.
They met in summer 2016 with Camp Fire Director Allen Stanley to plan the best project to interface with the programmes and talk about priorities.
Walla Walla City Manager Nabiel Shawa and City Parks and Recreation Department Director Andy Coleman also weighed in.
Playground equipment design and project budget details were planned and finalised so efforts could begin to secure funding, Maryann said.
“Since Rotary clubs have a long history of community service — and our club in particular with providing playground equipment — convincing the club board of directors to support the project was easy,” Chris said.
The $58,000 project was supported by Noon Rotary Club with approximately $36,000; a Sherwood Trust grant of $17,000; and a Rotary District 5080 grant of $5,000.
“Not counted into the total project budget was an indispensable contribution by the city of Walla Walla of staff labour, estimated at $10,000. Past club president Paul Abenroth served as contractor for the project.
“Our club cannot thank the city employees enough for all their amazing work on this project. It would not have happened without them since the playground structure assembly was much more challenging than anyone anticipated,” said Club President Pam Cress.
The city also provided the ground preparation work and will complete the project by replacing the basketball court in the spring.
Rotarians, their families and friends and residents of the neighbourhood all helped with parts of the construction and installation.
Long-term park area resident Michelle Jones asked around the neighbourhood for help with labour and food and beverages for volunteers.
“It is very rewarding seeing children playing on equipment that has been especially provided for their entertainment and exercise. Our club is very pleased to have been able to lead another playground project in the community,” Chris stated.