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Playground of Dreams gets big boost from Toyota of Tri-Cities

Drone view of new Playground of Dreams construction

Get a sneak peek at the installation of the a lighthouse during the construction of the new Playgrounds of Dreams in Kennewick's Columbia Park. The first phase is expected to open Mid-October.
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Get a sneak peek at the installation of the a lighthouse during the construction of the new Playgrounds of Dreams in Kennewick's Columbia Park. The first phase is expected to open Mid-October.

Toyota of Tri-Cities will contribute $450,000 to the new Playground of Dreams in exchange for naming rights to the iconic Columbia Park playground.

The Kennewick car dealership will make payments over five years in exchange for renaming the structure the “Toyota of Tri-Cities Playground of Dreams” for 15 years or the lifespan of the new play structure, whichever comes first.

The name will appear on signs throughout the park, including a new entrance sign at Highway 240, pending state Department of Transportation approval.

The title sponsorship goes a long way toward completing the funding needed for the $1 million-plus rebuild. In December, Tri-Cities Water Follies provided a $75,000 lead-off contribution for the project.

The city budgeted $350,000 for the project and turned to the community to raise the balance.

Emily Estes-Cross, director of parks, recreation and economic development, said the city is $114,000 shy of its goal. The budget includes money to install new play equipment as well as a reserve fund.

Columbia Park Kennewick sm-page-001.jpg
Kennewick’s new Playground of Dreams will replicate Tri-City icons such as a hydroplane, the cable bridge, the Clover Island lighthouse and a Lampson crane. The first phase opens this fall with the full playground expected to debut by Memorial Day in 2019. City of Kennewick

Volunteers built the original Playground of Dreams in 1999 in Columbia Park as a destination for local families. It was rebuilt in 2005 following an arson fire in 2004.

Playground to reopen Memorial Day

The city announced plans to replace the failing structure in 2017 with a modern setup that will be more accommodating of children with both intellectual and physical disabilities.

Demolition began in June, reserving memorial pickets for families that want to construct them. They’re stored at the Southridge Sports and Events Complex.

The first phase, which includes a cable-style bridge, a lighthouse, a Lampson-esque crane and a model hydroplane, opened last fall. The second phase will wrap up by Memorial Day, in time for the 2019 play season.

The rebuild is expected to wrap up in time to open to visitors at Memorial Day.

For additional information or to claim a picket, visit bit.ly/PlaygroundofDreamsRebuild.

Wendy Culverwell writes about local government and politics, focusing on how those decisions affect your life. She also covers key business and economic development changes that shape our community. Her restaurant column and health inspection reports are reader favorites. She’s been a news reporter in Washington and Oregon for 25 years.
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