Schematic plans for proposed JUMP Park. (Nakano Associates Landscape Architects)

Schematic plans for proposed JUMP Park. (Nakano Associates Landscape Architects)

Community group eyes accessible playground in Chimacum

Community forum to take place Saturday

CHIMACUM — A planned upgrade to HJ Carroll park will add a playground that everyone will be able to enjoy, even wheelchair users, organizers said.

The Jefferson Universal Movement Playground (JUMP) organizers are conducting a community forum from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday at Finnriver Cidery at 124 Center Road in Chimacum.

Attendees will be able to view the design for the playground— which will accessible for disabled people — and ask questions. A community photo is planned at 1 p.m.

Having a large turnout at the event is important for the organizers, as they are applying for a $500,000 Recreation Conservation Office (RCO) grant, and community involvement is an important factor in the decision process, said Sarah Grossman, JUMP president.

“The more people we can have there, the better,” Grossman said. “It is a requirement of this state grant.

“We want to have a really strong showing to show the state that yes indeed the community does support this and it is really needed. There’s nothing like it in within an hour drive.”

Grossman saw the need for an accessible playground while she was working with young students as a physical therapist in the Chimacum School District. She had three students in 2016 in pre-school who couldn’t walk who used walkers or a wheelchair, and they couldn’t play at the school playground.

She initially considered ways to upgrade the Chimacum School District playground, but that proved to be financially unfeasible, so she decided to look into creating a community playground.

The JUMP organization resulted from that.

“The school district recommended I look at grants for the playground and I thought ‘well if I’m going to go to all that work, why not make a playground that serves everyone for the whole community,’” Grossman said. “So that was the genesis of it.”

JUMP is a group of occupational and physical therapists, parents of children with special needs and other community members, Grossman said.

They recently received the updated design plans for the playground, which includes a wheel-chair accessible merry-go-round, a rope structure, slides and other accessible structures.

The park’s ground surfaces will be a combination of recycled rubber tile and artificial playground grass and will have concrete sidewalks. Every surface will be easily navigated by those using wheelchairs and walkers instead of the wood-chip and pea-gravel fill that most playgrounds use, Grossman said.

“It’s good for kids with all kinds of impairments and typically developing kids,” Grossman said.

In 2017, the group partnered with the Mike Beery Memorial Children’s Fund as its fiscal sponsor to accept tax-deductible donations, and the two groups are now helping each other to enhance HJ Carroll park.

The JUMP park will be right next to a climbing wall that the memorial fund is working to build. Both pieces will be next to the basketball courts and the parking lot there will have additional handicap spots added with a paved trail to the play area, Grossman said.

“It’s really going to be a nice, seamless area for play, exploration and challenge,” Grossman said. “We wouldn’t be here without them taking us on.”

So far the organization has raised about $129,600 through fundraisers, grants, individual and business donations. It is $170,400 shy of its $300,000 fundraising goal, Grossman said.

Between fundraising and the possible RCO grant, the group hopes to be able to build the park in one shot, verses stages, but if it doesn’t receive the grant, members are prepared to build it in stages, Grossman said.

“We are hoping to do it all in one fell swoop,” Grossman said, “but it’s something to keep in mind.”

More information about the park can be found at www.jumpplayground.org.

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Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at [email protected].

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