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Juneau Parks & Recreation

Project Playground


Project Playground at Twin Lakes:

Project Playground comprises one-half acre at Twin Lakes Park and results from a creative community partnership of grassroots, non-profit volunteers, businesses, and the City & Borough of Juneau.  The goal was to construct a community built playground—similar to a community barn-raising-- that would capture the imagination of our community’s children. The project was conceived in 2005 and completed on June 15th, 2007—and funded mostly through a creative campaign to raise funds and inspire volunteer labor by hundreds of individuals and school children in the Juneau community that constructed the playground from the ground up. Project Playground was developed through a public process.  The grass roots effort included engagement of our community’s children, fundraising and construction by the community that helped to catalyze and inspire generosity and responsiveness by government. Eleven different committees provided the backbone of the project.  These committees along with hundreds of volunteers came together to create and build the innovative, Juneau-centric playground odyssey for children of all ages and abilities.  From the drawings and ideas of area school children, the design team developed components that capture the magnificent natural and cultural history of which Juneau is enveloped.  These include story boards artistically rendered and painted by students that have become a focal point of the playground. The paintings and playground structures tell the story of Juneau’s rich native Alaskan heritage, gold mining history, mountain, forest and coastal ecology—including orca and humpback whales, silver and sockeye salmon, and mountain goats foraging sub alpine vegetation and more.

 

Project Playground is the result of more than 1,500 neighbors who came together and worked over 17,000 hours to construct the playground and make the Juneau community a better place for its kids.  The playground was constructed over a three week period—and planned and fundraised over a two-year period.

 

Funds were raised by the Project Playground Volunteer Committee from generous contributions by individuals, businesses and foundations. 

 

Playground Map

 

Budget:

Total budget: more than $1 million was fundraised.

 

This includes $550,000 cash raised by the community from contributions of over 900 individuals and businesses who purchased 1,200 engraved pickets to buy building materials; cash and in-kind donations by more than 230 individuals and businesses who contributed money to purchase building materials or provided professional services; businesses and volunteers who contributed food to feed 300 to 500 construction volunteers each day;  and over 1,500 neighbors who worked over 17,000 hours to build Project Playground from the ground up.  The City & Borough of Juneau provided $200,000 for site preparation, safety surfacing and project management. 

 

Ribbon Cutting                Classroom

 

Results:

Project Playground at Twin Lakes provides children of all ages and abilities a place to stimulate their minds and imaginations—and is arguably Alaska’s premier playground.  Since its construction the playground has been enjoyed by thousands of Juneau’s children and visitors (and their parents and grandparents watching their children!).  The playground has become Juneau’s newest community icon, and is sought out by independent travelers and families who visit by cruise ship.

 

A Friends of Project Playground has been established to assist with long-term maintenance needs.  The playground has become a remarkable symbol and place of great community pride.

Contact Melanie Coleman, Project Playground Volunteer Coordinator at sielog@gci.net if interested in participating as a volunteer.


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