Local youth leads service project at Arlington's Haller Park
The March 11 project, funded by a Disney Summer of Service grant, is helping to prepare the park for future improvements
Local kids and community members came out to Haller Park on March 11 to help prepare the park for upcoming improvements and renovations.
The effort was lead by local 5-year-old Jackson Martin, and his mother Breanne Martin, who earned a "Disney Summer of Service" grant for $500 earlier this year.
"We were watching the Disney Channel and an advertisement came on for the Summer of Service grant for America," said Breanne Martin.
Breanne Martin said that they liked the idea of supporting the planned splash pad at Haller Park.
"Jackson got excited about it and we immediately thought of the splash pad at Haller Park and getting the park ready for the installation of the splash pad," she said. "What better place to use the funds than our own community."
She went to local community groups, schools, the Arlington Rotary Club and neighborhood groups to help gather young people to help with the project.
Bark chips were put out in some of the play areas and the groups that came out also helped with weeding and landscaping.
"It went pretty quickly because we had such a great turnout," said Breanne Martin. "I think there was a great turnout, much more than I expected would come out, especially in the rain."
A local "Teens In Action" group from Camp Fire Snohomish also came out to participate.
"Grace, one of our teens, she brought a newspaper pamphlet and said 'look at this project,' and all the kids said 'yeah, we want to do that,' so here we are," said Erik Lindros, a program director at Camp Killoqua and one of the adults who works with the Teens In Action group.
Breanne Martin's neighbor Christina Roberts also came out with her son.
"It's good for him to learn how to participate in the community," said Roberts.
Kids learned the value of getting involved with their community through the project.
"They're learning the value of hard work. With kids these days a lot of the stuff is done indoors so it's nice to be out, get some fresh air and work to better the community," said Breanne Martin.
"They get more comfortable being in the environment of volunteer service. I've seen them grow up to be really wonderful leaders," said Lindros.
Currently the project is waiting to hear if the city will get additional grant funds.
"We're waiting to see if they [the state] match the funds. But, regardless, we'll build the splash pad, we just can't start until we hear about that grant," said Paul Ellis, Arlington's city administrator and Rotary member.
"We're hoping to start the splash pad in the fall," he said.
Other renovations to the park are about to start as well, said Ellis. Parts of the new restrooms for the park are expected to be delivered on Monday, he said.
"Once the new restrooms are done, we're going to take the old restrooms out and some of the parking lot out to create some more parking space," he said.
More information and updates about the potential splash pad can be found at the Friends of the Splash Pad at Haller Park Facebook page at facebook.com/Hallersplashpad.