WALLA WALLA -- Youngsters coming to Rooks Park in the spring will find they still have one present from the holidays waiting for them.
With the help of Boy Scouts from Troop 305, the park's 30-year-old playground has been taken down and replaced with all new equipment. The Scouts joined forces with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' staff at Mill Creek Dam and Bennington Lake to rebuild the playground with equipment that meets American Disability Act guidelines for accessibility as well as current safety standards.
Park Rangers Jeremy Nguyen and Rick Beauchesne said work began in October when the scouts used shovels and wheelbarrows to remove about 1,400 cubic feet of bark while Corps staff disassembled the aging timber and metal playground equipment. The salvaged bark chips will be returned to the play area along with additional new chips to make the playground safe and ready for use by the first of the new year.
The contract for the new equipment was awarded to SiteLines Playground and Park Products of Everett, Wash., for approximately $29,000. The new equipment will include a central play structure with three slides and a set of monkey bars, four spinning seat toys, two spring toys and a rotator.
The new playground will also include additional benches, an ADA-accessible table and ramps to aid access in and out of the play area.
SiteLines subcontracted with Prosser & Sons of Spokane to install the new playground equipment this month.
The park rangers said the old playground, installed in the early 1980s, featured a metal slide that had been identified as a safety risk because of a tendency to heat up under direct sunlight and potentially cause minor burns. Another issue was the wood supports of the structure, which had potential for major maintenance problems as the wood began to deteriorate.
Andy Porter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 526-8318.