Ferndale finalizing plans for new community playground

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDApril 11, 2014 

FERNDALE - Plans are underway to build a playground on a 14-year-old unused lot in Pioneer Park early next year.

Community members voted on their favorite final design for the playground at a meeting at Ferndale High School on Wednesday, April 9.

City employees and a designer visited with students at Ferndale elementary schools Wednesday morning and came up with designs based on what kids said they wanted to see in the playground. Parents and children were then invited to vote on the final design at an evening meeting.

Florida-based company Leathers & Associates came up with the playground design that won the most votes at the community meeting. The Parks Board will choose the final design next week.

The Star Park Playground would be built almost entirely by volunteers. Three engineers from Leathers & Associates would oversee the project. The idea is based off of Lynden's volunteer-built Million Smiles Playground.

Ferndale hopes to begin construction of the playground in early 2015 and take about seven days to finish.

The goal is to have a community-built playground where kids can use their imagination, said Mayor Gary Jensen.

"The (designers') idea is different from what you and I grew up with," he said. "It's not a manufactured piece of equipment adults have designed that kids are bored with after the second or third time."

The playground will cost an estimated $300,000, Jensen said. The city will apply for a state grant to match community donations.

The city estimates it will need about 2,000 volunteers to build the playground, said Sam Taylor, city clerk and community information officer.

City officials are waiting for Leathers & Associates to send them their final plan and list of materials needed. Once the Parks Board approves a design, a volunteer committee will be created to help raise money and start collecting supplies needed during construction, Taylor said.

Details: cityofferndale.org/starpark.php.

Reach Elana Pidgeon at 360-715-2249 or elana.pidgeon@bellinghamherald.com.

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