MEDFORD, Ore. — Once the much-loved wooden Bear Creek playground is demolished next week, the City of Medford will need volunteers to help with the assembly of its replacement.
The late-Twentieth-Century Gothic turrets of the 30-year-old, 9,500 square-foot playground will start to come down on Monday as the City, volunteers and contractors prepare to raise the new Olsrud Family Community Playground on the same site. The new 14,500 square-foot playground promises more modern materials but a similar castle theme, in addition to a larger footprint.
According to the City of Medford, both skilled and unskilled volunteers are essential to the new playground's construction. That process begins on Friday, September 28 and will require "hundreds of adult volunteers" for eight days of the intitial assembly. The City plans a for a grand opening of the new playgroun in mid-to-late October.
In addition to skilled and unskilled volunteer labor, the City also asks for the loan of power tools—particularly cordless drills, saws of various types and screw guns—for use by volunteers during construction.
The City says that the new design from Leathers and Associates, Inc. was developed with input from hundreds of Medford children and families.
In addition to being larger in size, the City claims that 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.
Public and private donors have already raised over $400,000 for the project. The City hopes to raise another $150,000 for a rubber playground surface that "enhances accessibility" compared to other common surfaces.
In April, the Medford City Council voted unanimously to rename the Bear Creek Park playground in honor of Sherm and Wanda Olsrud and their family. The City says that the Olsruds, who lived across the street from Bear Creek Park for decades, were instrumental in the installation of the original playground.
The original playground was installed in 1987 following an extensive fundraising campaign and an "all-volunteer" construction effort by hundreds of citizens, led by the Kiwanis Club of Medford, the Family Connection, Inc., and the City.