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Fort Nugent playground work begins

Hundreds of kids in Oak Harbor helped design a community playground last spring.

They will see their vision come to life next week when hundreds of volunteers descend on Fort Nugent Park to build the new playground. Work begins Wednesday, July 12 and goes through Sunday, July 16. Work hours go from 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Hank Nydam, Oak Harbor parks manager, said between 100 and 150 volunteers a day are needed to complete the 11,000 square-foot playground.

“Volunteers can work as much or as little as they want,” Nydam said. Organizers have contacted community groups, churches and the Navy base in hopes of rallying volunteers.

Design work on the playground began months ago when architects visited elementary schools in Oak Harbor. There children scrawled ideas for a playground on paper and the most popular ideas were incorporated into plans. A castle, a whale, fort and submarine are some of the more prominent features on the custom-built playground. The playground will be constructed from recycled materials and it is similar to the community playground built near Langley, also designed by a company called Leathers, Inc., based in New York.

By allowing kids to help with the design, it provides a park with a one-of-a-kind playground that kids would enjoy.

“We wanted to have something up there that is unique and kids will say ‘hey — I want to go there,’” Nydam said.

Volunteers have already started preliminary work on the project. Members of the Oak Harbor Lions Club spent part of the day Wednesday digging post holes needed for a covered picnic area.

Nydam said the volunteers are essential to the success of the project. The more volunteers that come out, the more work that can be done to ensure a high-quality playground. Lunch and dinner will be served and childcare is available throughout the day.

The community playground is budgeted to cost approximately $175,000. That money comes from community donations and fundraisers such as selling bricks for a path or a plank for a fence. Nydam said approximately $100,000 of the project comes from city funding.

To volunteer to help build the playground, contact Adam Johnson at 672-1601, Nydam at 279-5476 or Bill Bloch at 675-9527.

Nydam said it’s best to call in advance to schedule a time to volunteer. That way, it’s easier to coordinate the help.

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