City plans event as playground opening nears

Playground_SG-1By Katelyn Doggett

After more than a year of planning, fundraising and construction, the Marine Park playground is scheduled to open on Monday, October 12 at 5 p.m.

At the Blaine parks board meeting on September 17, community planner Alex Wenger provided an update on the status of the park.

The nautical-themed playground features a 30-foot pirate ship, a climbing rock and a smaller lighthouse-themed play structure.

“This playground really captures the essence of Blaine,” Wenger said. “It reflects Blaine’s history and character, and is a fantastic, imaginative park for kids to get outside and get active.”

Several factors could potentially postpone the opening date in October, Wenger said. All construction must be finalized and all safety requirements met before the park can officially open, he said.

Wenger expects construction on the lighthouse to begin soon. No play structure will be ready to use until all safety features are in place, Wenger said. Community members are invited to attend a work party on Saturday, September 26 at 9 a.m. to finish raking out the topsoil and complete other groundwork.

If plans go smoothly, at 5 p.m. on October 12 there will be a grand opening ceremony with the parks board, Blaine-Birch Bay Parks and Recreation District 2 (BBBPRD2) and Blaine City Council. BBBPRD2 director Ted Morris and chair Jeff Carrington will speak, and there will be a ribbon cutting ceremony.

Preliminary plans are for the Blaine High School band to perform and to host some type of children’s activities that mirror the park’s theme, such as pirates making balloon toys. Final plans will be confirmed closer to the grand opening.

The board planned to raise $90,000 for the park but has still fallen short of that goal, Wenger said. Donations for name plaques are still being accepted. All further donations will go toward site amenities such as picnic tables, benches, trash receptacles and public Wi-Fi, Wenger said.

Each bronze plaque will be carved in the shape of a sea creature, engraved with the donor’s name and installed at the park. Plaques range in price, starting at $250 for a sand lance up to $10,000 for a great blue heron.

As October 12 comes closer, everyone is working hard to finalize the new addition to Blaine, Wenger said.

“It’s really great to see the community come together to build this playground,” he said. “It wouldn’t have happened without community members volunteering their time and resources.”

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