A preliminary design for the Crawford Bay Park natural playground

Fundraising underway for Crawford Bay Park

A couple is coordinating the fundraising of $40,000 to bring new life to a section of the park by creating a natural playground.

Creston Valley Advance

With no fall zone around equipment and a child’s swing held together with duct tape, the playground at Crawford Bay Park is in need of an upgrade.

“It’s a pretty unloved place right now,” said Ellie Reynolds of the East Shore Alliance Supporting Early Years. “It’s not a functional playground.”

Together with her husband Charles, Ellie is coordinating the fundraising of $40,000 to bring new life to that section of the park by creating a natural playground.

“It’s less about expensive equipment and more about interesting design,” said Ellie. “Instead of having steps going up to a slide, you put the slide on an embankment.”

The playground is designed to include “real things,” she said, such as boulders and logs — even a 1933 cedar tree trunk that split into several tops donated by Gray Creek Store.

“They have to engage their entire brain to deal with balance and adjusting to different heights,” said Ellie.

“We’re continually doing research,” said Charles. “We want it to be as safe as possible.”

The playground will also include a bicycle path connecting various areas, a water feature — “Kids can play with water for hours,” Ellie said — and music-making pieces, such as bongos.

“You can’t make a bad sound,” she said. “They give children a positive experience with music.”

The upgrade, Ellie said, is about 20 years overdue, and two previous committees have tried unsuccessfully to fundraise to upgrade the playground. But this idea is catching on, with $10,000 having been raised in a few months.

Part of the appeal is that it’s being designed with more than just kids in mind — space will be included for parents, making the playground a perfect place for families, and even a day trip destination for Creston families.

“Our hope is that it becomes a hub for young families,” said Ellie.

“We’re trying to consider the needs of everyone,” added Charles.

For more information, contact Ellie Reynolds at easey01@gmail.com.

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