Parents and other people interested in the Sitka Community Playground project are invited to a community meeting and potluck dinner at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 6, at the Mt. Edgecumbe High School music room. A neighboring room for childcare will be provided, and signs will be posted to help everybody find the rooms.
“The Sitka Community Playground team will give a presentation on the community-built process,” said Alice Marcus, who is heading the project. “The purpose of this meeting is to show that we have support for this project, so even if you don’t feel you have the time to get involved, please join us on Tuesday if you have any interest in a unique, fun playground coming to Sitka.”
Sitka has very few playgrounds in town, and none of them are ADA-compliant, Alice said during a recent meeting of the Sitka Outdoor Recreation Coalition (Get Out, Sitka!). The three playgrounds owned by the city can’t receive major maintenance unless they are modified to conform to the American Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines, and they don’t have the room for the modifications. Alice said the three city playgrounds are scheduled to be phased out in the next few years. The two elementary school playgrounds also aren’t ADA-compliant, and they aren’t available to parents with young children during the school year.
The Sitka Community Playground project will design and build the first ADA-compliant playground in Sitka. The process used is called “community build,” where architects from the New York-based design firm Play By Design will interview kids to find out what they want in a playground, then create the design to meet the kids’ wishes. Play By Design has worked on several Alaska playgrounds, including community playgrounds in Juneau (Twin Lakes), Haines, Talkeetna, Kenai and Soldotna.
After the Play By Design team has met Sitka kids and created the design, the playground will schedule a five-day barn-raising event most likely in the spring of 2013 where community members will build the playground. Alice said the project should cost about $225,000 minimum, and they hope to use grants, small-scale fundraising and donations to raise the necessary funds. She said she is working with the city, and there is a section of land behind Moller Field and above the track that they’re talking about using for the project.
For more information, contact Alice Marcus at 738-5089 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can find information at Alice’s Facebook page, Sitka Outdoor Kids, a group she leads that hosts Friday hikes for kids and Tuesday playground sessions during the summer.