CHIMACUM — The Jefferson Universal Movement Playground will receive a $500,000 grant from the state, which will allow the group to begin Phase 1 of the construction of the accessible playground at HJ Carroll Park.
The state Recreation and Conservation Board ranked the project second out of 80 proposals statewide to be funded. Construction of the playground and park upgrades is slated to begin in spring 2022.
The Jefferson Universal Movement Playground (JUMP) group worked with Jefferson Parks and Recreation to apply for the Recreation Conservation Office (RCO) grant, which will be combined with community contributions that total $277,000 so far, said Matt Tyler, parks and recreation manager.
“It’s actually a pretty big achievement for our small community to draw this amount of attention and funding for a project,” Tyler said in a press release. “What put us over the top is the high level of need, and the community support.”
JUMP is the brainchild of its president, Sarah Grossman, who saw the need for an accessible playground while she was working with young students as a physical therapist in the Chimacum School District.
She said she had three students in 2016 in preschool who used walkers or wheelchairs, 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.
That’s how the JUMP organization was formed.
Grossman and the other volunteers are excited to receive the grant, as it will allow the facilities to start construction.
But the group must raise another $225,000 to fund the rest of the upgrades, she said in an interview Monday.
“It was very rewarding monetarily and, you know, just feeling good that we were recognized for a really solid project,” Grossman said.
Phase 1 will be in the north portion of the park, which includes rock climbing, an accessible merry-go-round, sliding and other features in addition to new paths.
Phase 2 will include swings, an accessible ramped structure and glider, and more musical instruments.
If JUMP can raise the additional $225,000 by July 2021 — when the RCO funds are released — the whole project can be completed at once, Grossman said.
While the project is being coordinated by JUMP, the RCO grant is technically granted to the county parks and recreation department to manage in conjunction with JUMP. Once the park is built, it will belong to the county, Grossman said.
There are a few reasons why the project scored as high as it did, she said.
“Community support, both financially and through our varied fundraisers and community events we’ve held the past four years was a big part of it, along with the project design, really showed up nicely, and the fact that it’s a big need,” Grossman said.
“There are no playgrounds within an hour drive that are accessible, and the existing playgrounds in our county are pretty old and small and lacking in a variety of ways,” she said. “So they saw our project as really meeting a need.”
People who are interested in donating, want more information on JUMP’s plans and to see renderings of the upgrades to the park can go to jumpplayground.org.
Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5 or at [email protected].