Community Invited to Turn Dirt at Ceremonial Ground Breaking July 4


Scott Gallacher

Things will be getting a little messy at Volunteer Park in a few months, and if things continue to go well with the progress of the new Gateway Park, you’ll soon be seeing a mess there, too. And these messes mean good things are being done.

Our park commissioners are finalizing details of a contract to install new LED (light-emitting diode) lighting at Volunteer Park. The work will include retrofitting the existing lights on Field 1 to LED and installing nine new light poles with LED fixtures on Fields 2 and 3. This work is being done thanks to a Youth Athletic Facilities grant of $250,000 from the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office, along with assistance from Peninsula Light and the KP Little League.

Sometime in July or August, you’ll start seeing construction equipment and dirt moving at Volunteer Park as the property is readied for its new fixtures. The park will remain open, but the ball fields may be unusable at times.

At our June park board meeting, it was also decided to move forward with construction of phase 1 of Gateway Park as soon as possible instead of waiting for spring. Waiting could help us avoid permitting and weather delays and maybe give us a small cost savings. Waiting would also mean a later opening date for the park. Starting early means that, if all goes exceptionally well, we’ll be open in 2017.

We hope to award a contract sometime this summer and start construction this fall; however, there are many variables out of our control that can delay progress. We acquired this property just a short four years ago. The fact that we are already moving forward with construction of Gateway Park is a considerable achievement for us, our grantors and the organizations involved in this project so far.

During the upcoming Fourth of July Community Hot Dog Social, we’ll celebrate the beginning of the evolution of Gateway Park with a ceremonial groundbreaking at 1:45 p.m. The public is invited to bring shovels from home and join us as we turn dirt to kick off the construction phase of this property.

I’ll be at an information booth at the social with details on Gateway Park. We’ll also have areas of the property highlighted with balloons corresponding to items on a large map. You’ll be able to see exactly where some things will be located, like the playground and the picnic shelter.

The KP Parks & Recreation Foundation will also be there to share how businesses, individuals and organizations can contribute to Gateway Park through tax-free contributions. We hope you will stop by while you are having good, old-fashioned family fun at the Fourth of July Community Hot Dog Social Monday, July 4, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Gateway Park, 10405 State Route 302, south of Wauna.