PORT TOWNSEND — Jefferson County commissioners met with county officials, community members and parents of children with disabilities and agreed to provide a donation to help build a new playground that is accessible to all children.
In a Monday afternoon session, commissioners heard a presentation from Jefferson Universal Movement Playground (JUMP) and a collection of community members who support the addition to HJ Carroll Park at 9884 state Highway 19 in Chimacum.
Commissioners approved the project and directed staff to look into the county budget to help determine how much the county can help with the estimated $220,000 project.
“There are no funds allocated in the parks budget for something like this,” said Sarah Grossman, a local physical therapist and one of the project’s founders. “So the county is looking for funds to give.”
The project has been in the planning phases for over a year, according to Grossman. It started with a plan to build an accessible playground for the Chimacum pre-school.
“We knew of three students coming into the pre-school who couldn’t walk and needed some sort of access to the playground,” Grossman said.
Grossman, who works primarily at Jefferson Healthcare hospital, also contracts with the Chimacum School District as a physical therapist.
“We thought about it and decided ‘why not go bigger?’” Grossman said. “So we decided to do one for the whole community rather than just one for this small pre-school.”
Grossman, along with a number of community members, have been collecting input from families with children with disabilities to decide what the playground needs.
Grossman said the plan is to use rubber surfacing, which makes a playground accessible to children using wheelchairs or walkers. Ramps and sensory panels will help children of all abilities use the entire playground.
“It’s the first and only of its kind in Jefferson County,” Grossman said. “We hope it’ll provide a lot of play opportunities for all kids.”
Grossman said the group is working with JUMP, a playground vendor out of Sequim, which has worked on projects similar to this.
Grossman said the group now is working to raise the $220,000 needed to make the playground a reality. Along with approaching the county, Grossman said the group is seeking grants and other local donations.
According to Grossman, the group already has raised $7,500 in donations.
“It’s a small start, but it’s good local support,” Grossman said.
The project has partnered with the Mike Beery Memorial Children’s Fund to make donations tax deductible.
Donations can be made online at www.jumpplayground.org or checks can be made out to MBMCF with JUMP and mailed to MBMCF/JUMP At 1240 W. Sims Way Suite 92, Port Townsend, WA 98368.
T-shirts with art donated by Port Townsend artist Max Grover also are for sale for a minimum donation of $20 at the Port Townsend Farmers Market on Saturdays and the Chimacum Farmers Market on Sundays.
Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Cydney McFarland can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 55052, or at [email protected]