The wooden playground at Bear Creek Park will be demolished next week to make way for the bigger and better Olsrud Family Community Playground that will be built at the same location later this year.
Removal of the existing playground is the next step in the Medford Parks and Recreation Department’s grassroots effort to replace the popular 9,500-square-foot castle-themed facility with a modern version of the same custom-built product. Some of the wood from the old playground will be preserved and artistically incorporated in the new playground or elsewhere in the park.
Slide Creek Contracting crews, with assistance from Rogue Disposal, will take down the old playground starting on Monday. After that, the site will be enlarged for the new 14,500-square-foot playground designed by Leathers and Associates, Inc., based on input from hundreds of Medford children and families.
Citizen involvement is essential for the assembly of what comes next. The Olsrud playground installation process starts Fri., Sept. 28, and requires extensive participation from hundreds of adult volunteers over the course of eight days culminating Oct. 6. If all goes well, estimated completion and grand opening of the new playground will be mid-to-late October.
In addition to skilled and unskilled volunteer labor, citizens are also asked to loan power tools – particularly cordless drills, saws of various types and screw guns – for use by volunteers during construction.
Rejuvenating the 30-year-old wooden fort-like structure with a similar style using modern materiel was identified as a high-priority capital improvement project for the 2017-19 funding cycle. The City teamed up with JWA Public Affairs, the Medford Parks and Recreation Foundation, the Medford School District, and Leathers Inc. to replicate the original 1987-88 community design-and-build process and to galvanize fundraising and community engagement.
In addition to being larger in size, the Olsrud Family Community Playground will meet or exceed Federal accessibility guidelines, will have better sightlines for supervision, and will have more climbing features and imaginative amenities for children of all ages.
To date, over $400,000 has been raised from public and private sources. Approximately $150,000 is needed for installation of the desired rubber playground surface that enhances accessibility, which is preferable to the wood-fiber surface commonly used elsewhere.
In April, the Medford City Council voted unanimously to rename the Bear Creek Park playground to honor the longtime philanthropy of Sherm and Wanda Olsrud and their family. The Olsruds, who lived across the street from Bear Creek Park for decades, were instrumental in the installation of the original playground.
For details on how to donate to the project and how to volunteer, please visit www.playmedford.com