“We’re monkeys,” said Emery Yungandreas, 7, as she climbed Wednesday on a twisting green grid of bars set between two kid-sized climbing walls at the new playground at River Forks Park west of Roseburg.
Emery was among 20 kids enjoying the playground during a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday.
Her younger brother, Abel Yungandreas, 5, said the vest and turquoise button-down shirt he wore to the event was given to him by the Easter Bunny.
The previous playground had been removed because it was old and in poor repair. Abel was a big fan of the new one. He said he had seen the “builders building it.” The best things about it, he said, were the “twisting ladder” and the “twisting monkey bars.” The slide was good too. In fact, he liked “the whole thing, even the rock with the fake branch.”
The new 72-by-92 foot playground includes swings, slides, a zip line, stepping logs, hollow log tunnels and a log cave.
The ground surface is covered with a soft, slightly bouncy rubber tile surface that is expected to improve safety and be easier to maintain than wood chips. The new playground cost about $170,000. A state parks grant paid $75,000 of the cost.
County officials were on hand to cut the ribbon Wednesday. Commissioner Chris Boice said it’s no secret the county’s been in “a bit of a financial mess” for awhile. One of the results of that has been aging infrastructure, including the former play structure.
“We’re excited about it being here,” he said of the new one. “We’re sorry for the time that it was closed down, but we think that it’s going to be a great addition to the park system moving forward, and we’re really happy to be able to open it to the public.”
Parks Director Rocky Houston said the playground is phase one of renovations at the park. He said phase two will include updating restroom facilities, which he said should be in place next fall.
Repairs will also be made to the park’s two whales, “Willie” and “Baby.”
“We won’t lose the whales. The whales will migrate over the winter and next summer, and they’ll come back and they’ll be located closer together,” Houston said. He said the baby looks lonely, and the two whales will look better together.