MEDFORD, Ore. — A process that has been years in the making is finally set for completion. The playground at Bear Creek Park in Medford — now dubbed the Olsrud Family Community Playground — will be open to the public following a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday, December 15.
The ribbon-cutting begins at 11 a.m., and will go forward rain or shine.
“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 says that they began the initiative to replace the iconic 30-year-old wooden playground at Bear Creek Park in October of 2017, with students from Roosevelt and Hoover elementary schools offering up ideas.
The Medford City Council decided to name the new playground "to honor the longtime philanthropy of the Sherm and Wanda Olsrud Family," who have lived near the park for many years.
"The 18,000-square-foot castle-themed playground designed by Leathers & Associates is double the size of its predecessor," said Rosenthal in a statement.
The new playground represents a synthesis of City planning and funds, cash and in-kind donations from the community, several large contributions from local luminaries (including the Olsruds), and the work of almost 1,100 volunteers. Over the past several months, those volunteers, local contractors and City staff worked to tear down the old playground then prepare and erect the new one.
Plans to have the new playground open in time for the holidays appeared as if they could be in jeopardy for a time, after assembly was delayed due to missing parts.
"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," Rosenthal said.
Ribbon-cutting attendees are advised to use Bear Creek Park parking lots off Alba Drive (next to the ballfields) and Highland Drive.