Ferndale City Council approves $70,000 for new playground

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJune 3, 2014 

FERNDALE - The City Council has set aside $70,000 in real estate excise tax dollars to help build a large and much-wanted playground in an unused part of Pioneer Park.

The council voted 5-0 on Monday, June 2, to do so. Council members Brent Goodrich and Cathy Watson were absent.

"This project has been a long time coming. Our community has really been begging for a large playground for our children for almost two decades," City Clerk Sam Taylor said.

"This playground, there's nothing like it in Ferndale," he added.

The playground will be located just south of the fenced-in area that houses the historic log cabins at Pioneer Park.

The dollars make up a small portion of an excise tax fund that is expected to collect nearly $1.4 million over six years. Money for street projects also comes from this fund.

Called the Star Park Playground, the 12,000-square-foot structure would be built primarily by volunteers with three engineers from Florida-based Leathers & Associates overseeing the project.

The playground would be accessible to children with disabilities, including wood chips made for wheelchairs and ramps that allow youngsters to get into the playground structures.

City officials hope to start construction in early 2015.

The project will cost about $300,000, with half coming from the city and community contributions through a fundraiser. Officials are applying for a matching grant from the state Recreation and Conservation Office.

Including community donations, the city has raised nearly $95,000.

Taylor said the community donated more than $20,000 within the first three weeks of fundraising.

"We can just tell that the community is excited about it," he said.

Building the playground will satisfy requests from young families who have told the city that parks need to be more than open space; they need playground structures for kids to play on, according to the city.

Learn more about the project, including how to volunteer and donate, by going to cityofferndale.org. Scroll down to "Parks" under "Quick Find Menu."

Reach Kie Relyea at 360-715-2234 or kie.relyea@bellinghamherald.com .

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