By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News
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A grand opening ceremony will be conducted at the park off West Eighth Street in Port Angeles at noon Saturday.
Mayor Cherie Kidd and city Parks and Recreation Director Corey Delikat will be on hand, along with members of a community fundraising committee that made the state-of-the-art playground a reality.
Janet Young, Shane Park Playground Committee president, had longenvisioned a place for children to play while their parents compete in rec-league sports on the Shane Park fields.
Young, who lives a stone’s throw from the park, said the opening ceremony will have cake, ice cream and “lots and lots of balloons.”
“We don’t have a clue how many people will show up, but we purchased enough ice cream for 500,” Young said.
“I hope the weather holds,” she added.
“They [children] want to get over there and start playing. They’ve waited long enough.”
Young and other committee members organized a series of fundraisers over the course of nearly two years that netted $45,000 for the play set.
The city of Port Angeles contributed $81,000, and the city Parks and Recreation Department secured a $39,000 grant from the state Recreation and Conservation Office to complete the $165,000 project.
“It’s been a tremendous three years,” Delikat said.
“I’ve just loved the community support behind it.”
Delikat said the Shane Park project drew considerable interest from other cities for its accessibility and grassroots funding at a recent Washington Recreation & Park Association conference in Vancouver, Wash.
The 30-feature play set was designed to be accessible to kids of all ages and children with disabilities. It is the first all-inclusive playground in the city parks system.
“All children can play on it together,” Delikat said.
The 6,000-acre play set boasts several slides, climbing walls, monkey bars, towers, swings and an upside-down merry-go-round.
“It’s supposed to be for kids 5 to 12,” Young said, “or people my age.”
Shane Park was named after Young’s son, Shane Fowler, who died of injuries sustained at the park when it was being constructed in 1973.
Young and others in the Shane Park Playground Committee worked tirelessly to raise money though community meals, bowling parties, dice games and a pickleball marathon.
“All the pieces fell into place,” Delikat said.
The theme of the grand opening is: “From the community’s heart, the gift of play.”
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.