Locals raise money to prevent park delay

Published on Wed, Aug 20, 2014 by Steve Guntli

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Residents are attempting to raise $50,000 in two weeks to make the Marine Park playground a reality for autumn.  

At a meeting of the Blaine-Birch Bay Park and Recreation District 2 board, the commissioners approved a $150,000 grant to fund the nautically themed playground, which city planners hoped to have completed by early October of this year. But even with the sizable grant and the $85,000 pledged by the city, the project is $50,000 short of what’s needed for its construction. However, as most of the money has already been raised for the project, the funds will be put into a special account and saved until the funding is completed, which the city estimates will be sometime next spring. 

Not content to wait until next year,  some local citizens are doing everything they can to raise the money by the end of the month. 

Angie Dixon, a local photographer and recent appointee to the Blaine Parks and Cemetery board, is spearheading the initiative, appealing to major corporations and small local businesses alike to raise the funds in time. In the first 48 hours, Dixon was able to raise nearly $10,000. 

“It’s been really awesome,” Dixon said. “Most of the money coming in has come straight out of people’s pockets.”

Local businesses have been quick to embrace the cause. More than $2,000 was donated as a tribute to Chris Sandell, co-founder of the Transgroup Worldwide Logistics Station, who died last November. Jasmine Johnson, owner of the Sugar Shack ice cream truck, has donated $500 to the park and has challenged her customers to match her donation. Dixon has also set up an account on the crowdsourcing site GoFundMe.com, and several businesses have agreed to be drop-off points for donations. The fundraisers are also waiting for word on a commitment from BP.

“I was told that they’d probably be able to donate something,” Dixon said. “They have funds set aside for local projects like this, but some of it is going to the Ferndale parks system, so we’re not sure how much they can contribute.”

The community has quickly rallied around the playground project as a potential driver of tourism in the city.

“Blaine is the only city in the county that doesn’t have a large family playground, and we desperately need one,” Dixon said. “A beachfront playground of this type will not only benefit the residents of Blaine, but will be a destination for everyone in the county and those passing through.” 

The proposed park would feature a 40-foot playground designed like a ship, with rubber matting replicating the water and a separate climbing boulder. The park would be installed in the area just to the west of the Lighthouse Point Water Reclamation Facility on Marine Drive. Permits for the project are already in place, so once the funds are in place, contractors at Burke and Buell Recreation will be able to break ground. 

Donations are being accepted at Border Brew Coffee, the Sugar Shack ice cream truck and city hall. For more information, contact Angie Dixon at ad.photography@yahoo.com, or visit the GoFundMe page at gofundme.com/bqrgdg.