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News / Clark County News

New playground taking shape at Esther Short Park

Site in downtown Vancouver park has been closed due to arson

By Carlos Fuentes, Columbian staff writer
Published: February 15, 2023, 6:01am
2 Photos
CME Play workers pour concrete around the supports of a free-form climbing structure that is part of a new playground Tuesday at Esther Short Park.
CME Play workers pour concrete around the supports of a free-form climbing structure that is part of a new playground Tuesday at Esther Short Park. (Photos by Taylor Balkom/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Just in time for the warmest months of the year, Esther Short Park will soon have a playground for the first time since January 2022.

Construction on the playground — which closed last year after a fire damaged it— will likely be completed in late May or early June, according to Melody Burton, Vancouver’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services marketing manager.

The new playground will be more wheelchair-accessible and all-user friendly — a project already in the works prior to last year’s arson.

“Losing the previous playground to arson meant that the site had to close sooner than we had anticipated for this project,” Burton said. “We know how important playgrounds are for so many members of our community, and we can’t wait for everyone to come out and play at Esther Short Park again.”

Last year, crews focused on removing the old play area, installing stormwater piping and enlarging the play area.

As of midmonth, crews have poured more than 75 percent of the sidewalk, installed concrete seat walls, reshaped the play hill, and installed landscape and drainage rocks.

The next month or so will be dedicated to pouring the remaining sidewalks and installing the new playground equipment, which includes an inclusive merry-go-round, swings, a seesaw and a climbing area.

“The total estimated cost for the playground is about $1 million,” Burton said in an email. “It’s a little higher than initially outlined but not outside of our expectations, given the rising cost of materials during the construction period.”

The final additions on the park will include a drinking fountain, turf, new plants and trellis structures.

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Columbian staff writer