Photo by Kirby Neumann-Rea
Play features and other support pieces await the readiness phase of the Hood River Children’s Park play structure assembly at 9th and Eugene streets.
As of Friday, August 31, 2018
Save the Date: the first day of autumn.
The long-awaited news came Thursday from Hood River City Council Member Megan Saunders: Sept. 22 will be the reopening date for Hood River Children’s Park, at 9th and Eugene streets.
City public works employees will begin installing the missing pieces that made it unsafe to use, according to Saunders.
All summer, chain-link fencing has surrounded the playground, lawn and play shed at the popular park, even though construction of the new play structure, — the reason for the closure — was substantially complete. Some, though not all, missing connecting pieces have finally arrived — enough to get the facility ready for the public, according to Saunders.
Boxes arrived last week from the company that created the structure, Play By Design. A July 2018 fire at the factory in Georgia that manufactures some of the still-needed pieces was the main reason for the delay.
“We just needed to make sure the play structure was safe for people to use,” Saunders said. “Now we will be able to do that and get the community out to celebrate what they achieved.” In June, 400 volunteers worked with public works and Play By Design employees to erect the expanded play structure. The 1992 original wooden facility had deteriorated and was removed for safety reasons in April 2018.
The fencing should be gone by Sept. 21, and the park open to the public the next day, a Saturday. Details are yet to be worked out, but the city will hold a celebration on Sept. 22 with music and refreshments.
The shed, aka Gibby, will also reopen, but the city and Hood River Rotary Club are partnering on renovations for the structure to take place as early as this fall.
The city coordinated the June work parties with Play By Design and a citizen committee led by Saunders and veterans from the 1992 build.
Working the first nine days of June, and over a second weekend later in the month, crews took the structure from bare ground to the expanded facility it is now.
There have also been improvements to concrete, along with added landscaping. Kids will enjoy added features including a ropes setup on the south side of the park.
Besides being larger and more varied, it meets Americans With Disabilities standards and is more accessible for adults.
Other local playgrounds are under development and closed, including Parkdale and Mid Valley. Looking for a last-minute playground experience with the kids?
Try these locations:
Hood River Waterfront Park on Portway Avenue (catch the Pink Trolley on the Heights or downtown as a fun way to get there.) Add in a walk along Shoreline Trail, west to the Hook or east toward Event Site and Marina to the east. In both directions, view the Big Art sculptures.
Jackson Park at 13th and May streets has a small playground and large, shaded lawn areas (and grassy slopes for rolling down).
Cascade Locks Marine Park, with an ample playground, Thunder Island to explore (actual island or brewery) and Cascade Locks Museum.