PORT ANGELES — Nearly a month after its planned completion date, construction at the Generation II Dream Playground at Erickson Playfield ended Sunday with the project ready for its final phase of play-surface installation.
A small crew of volunteers spent Sunday morning finishing a fence that had been delayed by a materials shortage, landscaping and installing decorative pavers.
Steve Methner, president of the non-profit Dream Playground Foundation — which is orchestrating the playground — said over the sound of drills and saws that the final push would bring construction to a close.
“We’re going to make it,” he said. “We’ve got a good crew out here today finishing up the fence and a lot of folks putting up fence posts and getting the pickets hung.
“I think we’ll to get to a point today where people are asking ‘What do I do next?’ and the answer is probably, ‘Have a donut and enjoy the rest of your Sunday.’ ”
The original construction timeline called for the play equipment to be assembled by community members over a six-day period in June, but a shortage of volunteers combined with record-breaking temperatures caused the project to fall short of its goal, despite the work of nearly 500 people who braved sweltering heat to take part in the build.
A second two-day build earlier this month drew about 200 volunteers to bring the major projects to fruition, leaving mostly detail work still to be completed on Sunday.
Installation of an artificial turf play surface is scheduled for the first week of August, so all work inside the main play area needed to be finished before then.
The Generation II playground is replacing the original mostly-wood Dream Playground, built by community members over six days in 2002.
That playground was razed in March amid safety and maintenance concerns.
The new playground, built mostly of modern composite materials, will have clear sight lines for parents to keep watch on their children, and it will offer more open space. It will also be more durable.
The non-profit Dream Playground Foundation raised nearly $600,000 to build the new play area, which was originally scheduled for 2020 but was pushed back a year by COVID-19.
Generation II is scheduled for a soft opening in mid-August with a formal dedication planned for Sept. 11 — the 19-year anniversary of the original Dream Playground’s formal opening.
As a handful if volunteers cut and assembled the rear fence and others finished paver installation, Methner said work on the rest of the playground was down to fine details.
“We’re just going down the punch list,” he said.
Photojournalist Keith Thorpe can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 59050, or at [email protected]