Portions of the Generation II Dream Playground at Erickson Playfield in Port Angeles remain unfinished on Wednesday. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Portions of the Generation II Dream Playground at Erickson Playfield in Port Angeles remain unfinished on Wednesday. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Volunteers needed for Dream Playground

Second round slated this weekend

PORT ANGELES — Organizers of the Generation II Dream Playground at Erickson Playfield have again put out a plea for volunteers to help complete construction of the project this weekend.

The playground, being built as a community effort, fell short on the original six-day build timeline in June because of a shortage of volunteers and a historic heat wave that kept many people home.

A shortened version of the original community build is scheduled for Friday and Saturday. Additional volunteers are being sought for several hours this evening to help set up equipment and supplies for the weekend sessions.

Steve Methner, president of the non-profit Dream Playground Foundation, said he is was optimistic the playground could be mostly finished this weekend.

“If we have a good showing of people with moderate skills, then we shouldn’t have any difficulty getting done,” he said. “I don’t have any reason to think we won’t finish on Saturday as long as we have a good volunteer showing.”

“I’m hopeful that, with the catch-up we’ve done this past week, we’ll have time to put up some of the aesthetic and artistic touches as well,” he said.

Methner said a major focus with the upcoming build will be installation of slides and their concrete anchors.

Consultants from Ithaca, N.Y.-based Play By Design LLC — the firm that developed playground plans and blueprints — will be brought back to Port Angeles to oversee the construction process.

The Generation II Dream Playground is replacing the original playground built by volunteers in 2002. That mostly wooden playground was razed earlier this year because of maintenance and safety issues.

The new playground will have clear sight lines for parents to keep their eyes on their children. It also will feature an improved play surface, replacing the former wood chips that could conceal hypodermic needles and other dropped objects with artificial turf developed specifically for playgrounds.

Turf installation is scheduled for the week of Aug. 2. All major projects at the playground must be completed before then.

A shortage of construction materials will preclude weekend completion of fencing around the playground, Methner said, but there are contingency plans for a small work party to finish that task in August.

Plans were developed in 2020 to replace the original Dream Playground with a newer version, but construction of the new play area was delayed from 2020 because of COVID-19.

Like its predecessor, Generation II was designed from suggestions for features desired by Port Angeles school children.

Signups for work crew slots can be made at www.signupgenius.com/go/904084da4ac23a5f85-dream3.

Methner said that, unlike the final days of the original community build in June, there are no heat waves in the forecast to keep volunteers away.

“The weather is supposed to be gorgeous,” he said. “I think Mother Nature feels bad about the first round and she’s helping out with the second one.”

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Photojournalist Keith Thorpe can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 59050, or at [email protected].

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