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SK Regional Park getting new playground

Computer-generated rendering of how the new playground at South Kitsap Regional Park will look when work is completed late next month. - Courtesy of Sitelines  Park and Playground Products
Computer-generated rendering of how the new playground at South Kitsap Regional Park will look when work is completed late next month.
— image credit: Courtesy of Sitelines Park and Playground Products

County officials have held numerous meetings over the years to determine the public’s hopes for South Kitsap Regional Park, resulting in ambitious plans. But up to now, there’s been little to show for the effort.

That will change in late February, when the park unveils its new playground.

“The old playground was ugly and nasty,” said Gary Max, president of Everett-based Sitelines Park and Playground Products, which is installing the new equipment. “It has been installed in the early 1990s, but it hadn’t been maintained and no one was really using it. This is going to be a big improvement.”

Park users have been frustrated for the past week to find the gates closed at both the Jackson Avenue and Lund Avenue entrances.

“We closed the park gate off of Jackson last week when we started the playground layout and design,” said Kitsap Parks and Recreation Department Manager Dori Leckner, “and we placed temporary fencing around the area of where the play structure is to go.

“We’ve since opened the gate off of Lund Avenue for park patrons to use to use the park, walk their dogs and enjoy the park,” she said. “We hope the park patrons will stay clear of the construction area while the playground equipment is being installed and earthwork is happening, so as to promote public safety.”

According to Max, crews this week began site prep work, including grading and leveling.

When completed, he said the playground will be divided into two areas — one for children ages 2 to 5 and the other for larger children.

Max said the area for younger children will feature interactive play activities, including spinners and noise-makers, plus an assortment of slides and climbers.

The centerpiece will be a sculpted green frog.

Older children can entertain themselves on a tall spiral slide and a variety of climbing structures.

“The best feature is the Sky Runner,” Max said, describing the piece as a “wheel on a post that gives kids the sensation of flying with their feet off the ground.”

Parents, he added, will appreciate the covered plaza area from which they can keep an eye on children in either sector of the playground.

Max stressed the park is completely wheelchair-accessible.

“In that sense, this facility is the first of its kind in Kitsap County,” he said. “Every public facility has to conform to the minimum Americans with Disabilities Act standards, but this one far exceeds the minimums. That was a real point of emphasis in planning this project.”

When the county assumed ownership of the park in July 2007, it did so with a requirement to spend $2.19 million to improve the park.

In July 2009, these funds and the 2008 master plan drawing were used to secure $500,000 in Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) grant funds to pay for the design and construction of Phase 1 master plan implementation projects, including the new playground, skate park, athletic fields, trail improvements, safe road crossings, and entry road and parking upgrades.

A design services contract to create all construction drawings for Phase 1 projects was signed on May 24, 2010.

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