Burned-down Yakima playground gets fresh start

Sarg Hubbard Park playground reopens with $150,000 in new equipment

YAKIMA, Wash. — In September, out-of-control fires destroyed the 27-year-old playground at Sarg Hubbard Park: now it’s getting a fresh start.

Dozens of children and their families visited the new and improved playground Thursday — opening day — and Friday.

Yakima Greenway Foundation Executive Director Kellie Connaughton said while insurance coverage for the old playground helped pay for some of the $150,000 replacement playground, they were able to upgrade the equipment with the community’s help.

“We received several very generous grants from some local community members to help us do some upgrading and things that we wanted to to make the structure as perfect as we possibly could,” Connaughton said.

Yakima Greenway hit by fires

On Sept. 7, 2020 — Labor Day — multiple brush fires sparked near Sarg Hubbard Park, located at 111 S. 18th St. in Yakima.

“The fire department report says that it was a unintentional brush fire,” Connaughton said.

RELATED: Sarg Hubbard Park in Yakima closed due to multiple fires on Monday

Connaughton said it’s unclear what started the fire, but it could have been a cigarette, campfire or something else along those lines that was located on the Terrace Heights bridge.

“We had horrendous winds and the flames blew a lot of brush and debris and tree limbs and whatnot into Sarg Hubbard,” Connaughton said.

The fire damaged the Yakima Greenway Foundation office and destroyed a storage building before it struck the playground.

Two weeks ago, the Yakima Greenway fell victim to a wild fire that destroyed over 30 acres of the Yakima River Corridor…

Posted by Yakima Greenway on Tuesday, September 22, 2020

“Once that plastic ignited, from burning trees and whatnot, the whole thing just sort of went up in flames,” Connaughton said. “Then there was about 30 acres of brush or 30 acres of river habitat that was also severely scorched in the fire.”

The fire caused several hundred thousand dollars in damage to the park and the Yakima Greenway.

Upgraded playground reopens

Connaughton said she strongly encourages park visitors to wear face masks at the new playground and reccomends families bring disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer and a tablecloth if they plan to use the picnic tables.

“We are asking folks that when they come to the playground, that they do practice social distancing and be respectful of the number of people that might be around the structure,” Connaughton said. “Our crews are sanitizing several times throughout the day.”

Connaughton said public restrooms are closed and will not reopen until April.