Help design our playground

A designer is going to find out what kind of playground Oak Harbor kids enjoy the most.

He will talk to elementary school students to get suggestions for the design of a new community playground. The public will see the fruits of his labor when concepts for the new playground at Fort Nugent Park are unveiled in a final “Design Day” event Tuesday, Jan. 24 at the Oak Harbor Public Works Facility.

Before the event, designers will spend Tuesday morning visiting students in Oak Harbor elementary schools for brief brain-storming sessions.

“These are like little jam sessions with the kids,” said Hank Nydam, parks manager for the city of Oak Harbor.

John Dean, a designer with Leathers and Associates, will head to Hillcrest Elementary School Tuesday afternoon to start drawing concepts for the community-built playground. That will allow students to walk up to him and provide more suggestions for the proposed, one-of-a-kind playground, Nydam said.

He said themes for the playground could include such ideas as a castle or western fort.

“It really catches kids’ imagination,” Nydam said.

Leathers and Associates is a New York company that designs and builds custom playgrounds. It is known locally for building the giant castle-like playground in Langley. The company helps create concepts, raise money and build new structures with the community’s help.

Nydam said volunteers wanted a unique playground to fit the scope of the park, comprised of athletic fields located west of Oak Harbor. The $125,000 project will be built with recycled materials and utilize community volunteers to help with construction.

In addition to presenting playground concepts, Nydam said residents will have a chance Tuesday to volunteer with preparation and construction of the planned playground.

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