One of the largest custom-built playgrounds in the Pacific Northwest opens to the public in Bear Creek Park in Medford this weekend.
Following 14 months of planning, design, site preparation and assembly, the eagerly anticipated grand opening ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Olsrud Family Community Playground is set for Sat., Dec. 15 at 11 a.m., rain or shine. The event is open to the public.
“Just in time for Christmas, this imaginative playground is an amazing gift by the community to future generations of Medfordites,” Medford Parks, Recreation and Facilities director Rich Rosenthal said. “It is a jewel that will be loved for generations, just like the original.”
The City kicked off the effort to replace the popular 30-year-old wooden playground at the same location with a larger, modern and more accessible version on Oct. 26, 2017, when students from Roosevelt and Hoover elementary schools participated in a design charrette.
Named by the Medford City Council to honor the longtime philanthropy of the Sherm and Wanda Olsrud Family, the 18,000-square-foot castle-themed playground designed by Leathers & Associates is double the size of its predecessor.
The new playground is made possible by the City of Medford, cash and in-kind donations from the community, and by nearly 1,100 volunteers, who, along with local contractors and City staff, assembled the structure over the past two months. The grassroots effort was coordinated by the Medford Parks and Recreation Department, JWA Public Affairs and the Medford Parks and Recreation Foundation.
The Olsrud playground was designed to accommodate the children with special abilities to the greatest extent possible, including several custom features like the “Liberty Swing” that serves those using wheelchairs.
Ribbon-cutting attendees are advised to utilize Bear Creek Park parking lots off Alba Drive (adjacent to the ballfields) and Highland Drive.