Kennewick’s beloved Playground of Dreams will shut down Thursday in preparation for a $1 million rebuild.
Thursday is the last day for kids to play on the aging playground. First built 19 years ago in Columbia Park near the Neil Lampson pit area, the playground equipment is aging and dated.
The city intends to install a new edition that will be more durable and that allows children with disabilities to play side-by-side with peers.
The new playground will be constructed in two phases. The first phase will be complete in November and the playground will be reopened to the public.
The second phase will be build next spring.
The upgraded Playground of Dreams includes iconic Tri-City touches, including playable replicas of the cable bridge, a hydroplane, a lighthouse and a Lampson crane.
The city is contributing $350,000. The balance is being funded with private contributions.
Volunteers began removing the memorial fence pickets that encircled the original playground earlier this summer. The pickets are being preserved and returned to the original sponsors. About 40 have been claimed.
More than 1,000 volunteers constructed the original Playground of Dreams over the weekend of Sept. 10-11, 1999. Many returned to rebuild it in 2004, after the sections of the original were destroyed by an arsonist.
But years of sun, wind, rain and heavy use have taken their toll.
A 2015 assessment concluded the cost to maintain the wooden structure would increase with age and that there were safety issues because it no longer complied with Consumer Products Safety Commission guidelines.
The replacement will occupy the same 16,000-square-foot footprint and is designed to be friendlier to children with special needs. For instance, a dual zip line includes one track with a harness to secure children for the ride.
For more information, including making a donation or claiming a picket, visit go2kennewick.com/1166/Playground-of-Dreams-Rebuild