New Funland Playground to Have Groundbreaking on Wednesday

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If all goes well, the new Funland Playground in Hermiston could be open by fall. (Image courtesy of city of Hermiston)

Construction of the new Funland Playground in Hermiston will begin with a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday, July 29 at 12:30 p.m.

Because of social distancing guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic, the ceremony will be limited to a handful of representative community members allowed in the project area. However, spectators are welcome to watch from outside the fence.

“Rebuilding Funland bigger and better than before is possible because Hermiston is a resilient and can-do community that regularly puts its children first,” said Mayor Dr. David Drotzmann. “This playground will be a testament to the generosity of our residents and their desire to see our youth have a safe place to play.”

Drotzmann, City Councilor Roy Barron, Charlie Clupny, Larry Fetter, Patricia Alder, 9-year-old Jayda Martinez and 5-year-old Jaysen Martinez will participate in the groundbreaking. The park is tentatively scheduled to open this fall.

“We are hoping for a playground dedication in mid-October provided that all the materials arrive and the weather cooperates,” said Larry Fetter, director of Hermiston Parks and Recreation. Manufacturing delays may push the reopening to spring.

The new playground is designed to engage all ability levels age 5-12 in three zones: Wild West, Adventure, and Farming, each with a connection to the region’s heritage.

An all-wooden playground was first built by volunteers at Butte Park in the late 1990s but was destroyed by arson soon after. A new playground was built to replace it in 2001 with a larger footprint and more play structures. That structure also burned down in the summer of 2019.

The community raised more than $700,000 to add to the insurance reimbursement and rebuild “bigger, better, and stronger.” The new structure will consist of steel and other fire-resistant materials, and other security measures will be installed.

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