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UP’s vision for a Playground by the Sound

Post by Brent Champaco on Dec. 30, 2009 at 2:07 am with 10 Comments »
December 30, 2009 2:07 am
Here is a picture of the playground land at Chambers Creek Properties that is posted on the project's Web site.
Here is a picture of the playground land at Chambers Creek Properties that is posted on the project's Web site.

By Brent Champaco
The News Tribune

A group of University Place boosters hopes to generate support – and money — to build a themed playground at Chambers Creek Properties.

The goal is to raise $200,000 to build the playground, which will be fitted with everything from slides and swings to a rock-climbing wall, by September. To date, it’s raised about $23,000.

The effort, known as Playground by the Sound, is one of amenities that could be offered at the 930-acre site owned by Pierce County. The others include a pedestrian overpass that will open up two and half miles of beach access and future off-leash dog park.

Jeff Allen, chairman of the group’s fund-raising committee, says the proposed playground is a local project for University Place.

Plans call for a 12,000-square-foot playground in the North Meadow area of Chambers Creek Properties.

The community helped produced the playground’s design. Last May, Playground by the Sound held a design day in which elementary students from University Place shared ideas about what they’d like to have in a new playground. The designer, Leathers and Associates of New York, then took the ideas and incorporated them into the design.

The community is also paying for the project without the help of public dollars, and it will help with its construction.

“When you get a chance to be something that’s part of a legacy, it’s great,” said Allen, a father of three children who lives less than two miles from the proposed site. “The playground is just one little stamp in the overall recreational opportunities at Chambers Creek Properties.”

The effort to build playground began about two years ago, as University Place and Pierce County began discussing how to develop the North Meadow area, which is located along the Soundview Trail, a popular spot for joggers and walkers.

Linda Bird, University Place’s outgoing mayor, got the idea of a community playground through interactions with residents. She was inspired every time she’d walk the trail with her grandkids.

She also says the city of 30,000 is underserved when it comes to playgrounds. Eventually she teamed with Allen and other residents who agreed a playground would be worthwhile.

Bird said a playground would help show residents that the county owned property – home to Chambers Bay Golf Course — is indeed a development for all residents.

“It’s not just exclusively a golf course,” she said. “It’s not just for runners and strollers. It’s for everyone.”

Leathers and Associates specializes in building community playgrounds. It’s built 2,000 across the country so far.

Some of the components of the Playground by the Sound include a Mountain Maze, an Alpine Triple Slide, a Whale Spring toy and the Galloping Gertie Suspension Bridge.

Residents can donate to the project by “adopting” one of its future components, buying a fence picket or simply giving money.

Mark Kahley of University Place, the project’s general coordinator, says the group is confident the public will help it reach its goal.

Given the rough economy and other factors, individuals and groups might be less willing to donate large chunks of the playground’s costs.

Instead, he expects the group will raise the funds in smaller increments, especially if residents realize how important the playground is to University Place.

“I still think our goal is easily attainable,” he said.

To donate or to find out more about the Playground by the Sound project, click here.

Brent Champaco: 253-597-8653

Leave a comment Comments → 10
  1. Why can’t they build a ‘themed playground’ somewhere else besides Chambers Creek. I really believe having such an attraction would take away the serenity and natural feeling of the place.

  2. Cheetah … Are you really serious? Nature/Serenity was scoured out of the earth decades ago when they quarried that area. Nature/Serenity was gone when the RR was granted a right of way along the coast of the sound. Nature/Serenity was gone when the county and it’s residents voted on, approved and built a championship golf course. In a human environment (ie the suburban area in which we reside) there is nothing more serene or natural then the sight and sound of children laughing and playing. A playground would qualify as highest and best use of that particular corner of Chambers Creek Properties. Cheetah, if you can come up with a better plan for that particular spot then by all means go ahead and do so … good luck.

  3. spencerspencer says:

    And the article has no drawings of the proposed playground because why?

  4. There might be some confusion. This is the Chambers Bay Golf Course area, not the undeveloped section of Chambers Creek where kids skim board.

  5. Brent Champaco says:


    Good question. I tried pulling the design plan for the playground off the group’s Web site, but the image wasn’t displaying properly on our blogging system. I went with the next closest thing, which was a picture of the property.

    The group hasn’t gotten any architectural renderings from the designer, although that should be coming in the next few months. I’ll try to post the design plan in a few hours. (I’m off to a meeting right now)

    Thanks for the suggestion.

    Brent Champaco

  6. Kartman,
    Yes, I was serious, that is why I commented. I like it just the way it is ‘serene’, without noisy kids. They have plenty of playgrounds, parks, skateboard parks, climbing walls, soccer fields, baseball fields etc. to play on all over Pierce County.

  7. judman25 says:

    I sure hope they don’t litter the park with a bunch of overpriced Danish KOMPAN crap like they do in so many other parks. Buy American and keep our money here!

  8. Sounds like a great development. In the process of developing the old quarry area, I hope the County doesn’t forget about improving the trail system in the Chambers Creek canyon. Very few urban areas have that kind of amenity — with better trails and removal of some invasive plants, that canyon could be much cooler than Ravenna or Carkeek parks in Seattle.

  9. DrWernerKlopek says:

    I say they dedicate the playground after the late Jean Brooks, parks advocate.

  10. Spartacus says:

    Personally, I hate the idea of that space being used for a tot lot. I can see the headlines now….”Pierce County and UP being sued after a vicious coyote attack of toddler at the playground by the sound!” Frankly, they should just let it alone…..it’s bad enough that a certain UP council member bullied their plan for a dog park onto everyone.

    The late Sally Walker, a longtime UP resident, served as the 28th district representative and as Pierce County councilperson. She served as 1st chair of the UP Parks Board for 6 years. During her tenure on the PC Council, she was instrumental in acquiring the gravel mine property for preservation for the public. I think she should be given 1st consideration for the naming of a UPlace park at the North Meadow.

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