The playground at the South Mercer Playfields, known as “Rainbow Park,” has closed and is currently being dismantled in preparation for the installation of a new playground.
The new playground will feature a “nature” theme and will be the first of its kind on Mercer Island. The Mercer Island Parks and Recreation department planned the new playground in collaboration with the Mercer Island Preschool Association (MIPA), which donated $40,000 toward the new playground project.
Playground components include a log jam climbing structure, a web climber, a rock slide, arch swings, a sandstone bench, and a hollow log. The playground area will also be fully fenced, a new feature of the play area, which is located adjacent to a busy parking lot.
Becky McKanna and Beth Dudycha served as the 2016-2017 MIPA co-presidents when the organization decided to donate funds toward the new playground, and also provided the City with feedback on the playground design, based on input from MIPA members.
“I used to drive 25 minutes to a park when I had a baby and a toddler because I wanted a place that would keep both of them safe if I had to change a diaper or feed the baby,” said Beth Dudycha. “Parents of multiples have similar needs. A fully-fenced park here is going to be very popular with preschool families.”
With its location across from Lakeridge elementary school and in the South Mercer Playfields complex, home to multiple sports fields, the playground is one of the busiest on Mercer Island.
“The South Mercer Playfields is such a huge family destination for baseball games and sports activities,” said Becky McKanna. “The new playground will be a nice enhancement to the area, and the log jam and web climber will be fun for older kids as well.”
While some children may miss the brightly colored tube slide and the purple dinosaur riding toy, the old playground was beginning to wear out. As described in an email from the City: “Rusting, cracks, and failing surface finishes were all starting to affect performance. There was no imminent safety issue, but these things could become issues in the future.”
A preliminary layout of the playground is illustrated below, along with photos of the playground components. (Click here for a full-size PDF.)
MIPA has a long history of contributing to playground projects around Mercer Island, including “Dragon Park,” the children’s playground at Mercerdale Park, and most recently the new playground at Luther Burbank Park, in September 2013.
The City is still receiving shipments of the new playground equipment and expects that the new playground will be complete in mid-February.
Disappointed that the playground is closed? Here are 9 other great playgrounds on Mercer Island to visit until the new playground re-opens.