North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

Rotary thanks sponsors who are improving Haller Park

 

Christopher Andersson

Families, Arlington Rotary members and supporters of Haller Park improvements gather at Haller Park to celebrate the park's improvements on June 23.

The Arlington Rotary Club invited sponsors who have improved Haller Park and are helping with the next big improvement for the park: a splash pad.

The Rotary started helping Haller Park and finished installing new playground equipment in 2014.

"When we started this project, it was because the people who came down to our Duck Dash and raised money for years to put it back into the community, said 'wow, we could really use some playground equipment,'" said Rotary member Linda Byrnes.

However, after the playground was installed parents began looking for an alternative to the Stillaguamish River for hot summer days.

"The other thing that started coming up, as soon as we got this [playground] up, was people saying 'well, what about a splash pad?'" said Byrnes.

Splash pads are areas with no standing water but numerous sprinkler/spraying devices for kids to run through and play in.

The Rotary's initial goal was to raise $375,000 with $375,000 more in-kind donations, however "now it has grown to a $1.2 million project," said Rotary Member Bryce Duskin.

The project has been helped along by a $500,000 donation from the Stillaguamish Tribe.

"They liked what they saw changing in the park. They're very supportive of the improvements that are kid-focused or family-focused," said Byrnes.

"The river is part of their culture but they understand the safety concerns with the river at certain times of the year," she said.

The other big potential source of funding could be a state grant, said Byrnes. The Rotary is working with the city of Arlington to obtain a matching funds grant which would push the project's budget over $1 million.

"Before the Tribe donated the money, we already knew we were going to apply for the state grant because we felt like it was going to fit into their criteria really well," said Byrnes.

Usually projects seeking the grant don't have the funds to match beforehand, and the promise of state funds is used to make donations more attractive, she said, so she thinks the Arlington proposal will be more competitive now.

"They don't usually get people applying for grants that already have the matching money sitting there," said Byrnes.

Rotary members hope to finish fundraising by July 2017 and begin a groundbreaking in the fall of 2017. They will likely know by this October if they have received the grant, said Byrnes.

Local groups and organizations were thanked for their contributions to install the playground and their work toward the splash pad as well.

Duskin said that many local organizations stepped up to help make the park possible.

R&R Construction was originally going to supervise the installation, but after the March 22, 2014, Oso landslide, they installed it themselves. "They told us 'we know the Oso slide is going on, you have a lot of things on your plate, we're going to put that playground together for you,'" said Duskin.

Others like Reece Trucking or Country Green and Turf got the field ready for the opening. "You build a playground and the kids want to play on it right away," said Duskin.

 

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