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Federal Way park renovation to include unique merry-go-round for special needs kids

Community members help work on
Community members help work on 'Family Funland' play structure at Steel Lake Park in 1994. The park is currently closed for major renovation, which will include the first-of-its-kind merry-go-round structure for special needs kids.
— image credit: Courtesy of Steele Lake Playground aka Federal Way Family Funland Facebook

The “Family Funland” play structure renovation at Steel Lake Park began on Dec. 17 and is expected to last through the spring. The city anticipates the play structure will re-open in May, and is set to cost the city approximately $431,000.

The play structure was originally built in 1994 through community support and volunteer involvement. The need for the renovation is mostly to get the structure up-to-date with current standards for playground equipment, and to hopefully add a few unique features, including a toy known as an AbilityWhirl, a merry-go-round like toy designed for special needs/disabled children.

Dave Berger, a Parks commissioner and member of the Federal Way Rotary Club, said he’s happy to see the project finally get underway, but did say there’s still some need for fundraising to get the AbilityWhirl included. If included, it would be the first of its kind in the United States, according to Berger and the city.

“We recently received word that the Seattle-based McEachern Charitable Trust will be approving a $5,000 grant to the Federal Way Rotary Foundation,” Berger wrote in an email to The Mirror. “Thus, Federal Way Rotary is nearly half way to our $31,000 donation target for the disabled access/AbilityWhirl component of the renovation project, and we expect the remainder to be raised during the ‘Fund-a-Need’ portion of our annual auction gala on Jan. 25.”

Steve Ikerd, Parks and Facility manager for the city, said there’s hope this renovation will be another community effort.

“We are open to volunteer help in the demo phase from January to February, and some restoration work during March and April,” he wrote in an email to The Mirror. “We have a couple of dates that AmeriCorps is planning to help.”

Ikerd indicated that the technical work on the project will begin in March, and will be performed by Leathers Associates, the architect firm designing and overseeing the project. After that phase is done, he noted that there may be the possibility of further volunteer opportunities, such as “drainage work” and “replacing the wood safety chips.”

Those interested in helping are encouraged to contact Ikerd at (253) 835-6911 or by email at steve.ikerd@cityoffederalway.com.

 

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