After years of work, the maritime-themed playzone at Crescent Creek park will have its grand opening at 3 p.m. on Friday, June 27. Mayor Guernsey and other elected officials will be in attendance.
The park was funded last year by local fundraising efforts and a grant from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP) along with more than 90 other projects across the state. The grants come from the state’s capital construction budget. More than 200 WWRP projects are proposed this year.
“This local park we’re celebrating is a wonderful example of filling a need in a very unique and creative way, so that people of all physical abilities can get out and enjoy wonderful outdoor spaces,” said Pat Lantz, former state representative and current board member with the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition. Lantz also focuses on parks in her role as a State Parks commissioner.
In 1989, the Wildlife and Recreation Coalition founded the WWRP and remains the program’s primary advocate and watchdog.
“We are grateful to Governor Inslee for prioritizing funding so that families can enjoy parks close to home. In many communities around the state, WWRP grants are critical to making outdoor recreation projects possible,” said Joanna Grist, executive director of the Coalition.
The playzone is Gig Harbor’s first park with ADA-accessible play structures so children of all abilities can enjoy the park together. It also features a replica fishing boat and other sea-themed elements to honor the city’s maritime history.
Last year, the Playzone ranked second out of all proposed WWRP parks projects by the state-run Recreation and Conservation Office.
What is the WWRP?
The Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (RCW 79A.15) is a state grant program funded from the capital construction budget that provides funding to protect habitat, preserve working farms and creates new local and state parks. Independent experts rank the applications based on criteria such as the benefits to the public, level of threat to the property, or presence of threatened or endangered species.
About the Coalition
The Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition is a non-profit citizens group founded in a historic bipartisan effort by former Governors Dan Evans and Mike Lowry. The Coalition promotes public funding for Washington’s outdoors through the state Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program and the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund. Members consist of a diverse group of over 280 organizations representing conservation, business, recreation, hunting, fishing, farming and community interests. The breadth and diversity of the Coalition is the key to its success — no one member could secure such a high level of funding for parks and habitat on its own.