New playground on the Yakima Greenway takes shape

YAKIMA, Wash. – Organizers for a new playground on the Yakima Greenway are calling for more volunteer help to finish the project in July. Construction took longer than expected due to hot conditions.

“We’re asking the community to save the dates of July 9, 10, and 11,” Greenway Executive Director Kellie Connaughton said Sunday at the project site. “We will start the final construction. Assembling the swings and slides and all those kinds of things that make the playground important.”

The project was initially supposed to run from June 21-27, but the playground’s foundation was still taking shape on Sunday.

Three area Yakima Rotary clubs teamed up with the Yakima Rotary Trust this summer to replace the wooden McGuire Community Playground, which has been a fixture on the Greenway for 28 years. Taking its place is a modern structure that Connaughton said could last about 50 years.

Several volunteers came out over the six-day period to lend a hand. According to Yakima Sunrise Rotary member Alan Cottle, around 70 people turned out for the daytime shift Sunday.

“We’re a little bit short-staffed because of the weather. It’s hard when it’s this hot out,” Cottle said. “Ordinarily [throughout the week], a day crew like this would have somewhere around 120.”

Mark Uhlman of Yakima was the project director for the original playground back in 1994. He’s helping with the new project as a volunteer.

“I think community involvement is really important, especially on this day and age when there’s so much detachment,” Uhlman said. “I think this is a great way to reconnect.”

If you’re interested in volunteering, you can find that information here. Connaughton said the project would need about 100 volunteers per session to help with everything from preparing meals to construction. She said their goal is to have the playground finished by July 12.

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