Pioneer Park Playground Community Rebuild

<p>Pioneer Park Playground</p>

Pioneer Park Playground

The community of Pendleton is coming together to rebuild a playground destroyed by arson last October.

It's a labor of love for the more than 100 community members kicking off the rebuild of pioneer park playground today.

"All of these people take time off work and they show up to get this job done and you don't have to ask twice," said Niki Naughton, a member of a 10 person steering committee formed to rebuild what was lost.

On October 23, 2012, the playground "fort" was burned to the ground.  A case of arson, that was never solved.  

Since November, the steering comimttee has worked to rouse the community to action.

Naughton says the help came immediately, "How can we help, what can we do to get this rebuilt was what we were hearing. That was the day after it burned down, and today all these volunteers are showing up, despite the rain."

The work is divided into smaller groups.. each with a skilled "captain" leading the team to complete a certain task.

Today is contractor's day. The bulk of the framing, jousting, and foundation laying will take place.

The next four days will include putting all the other pieces together.

Roy McCarthy is one of two architects for the project redesign, from a company out of Ithaca, New York. He was on the first project more than 11 years ago, when the playground was first built.

"Today, we have all the plans with us. We break it into simple steps and hand out a little bit of information at a time to each group, and it all coalesces into becoming a finished product," said McCarthy. 

It takes a lot of manpower and a lot of materials to get this project off the ground. 22, 000 screws, $50, 000 worth of structural plastic, $12, 000 worth of treated southern yellow pine, and more than 8, 000 vounteer hours.

More than $68, 000 of the $200, 000 cost of the completed project came from grassroots fundraising, such as bakes sales, penny drives, and spaghetti feeds.

"Everybody wants to contribute. We have some 90-year-old people who have called us and can't get down here to help out but they have tools. So it really is reaching every level of our community," said volunteer and "captain" Dan Moore, a retired engineer.

"When the playground opens, you get a little emotional. People ball like babies - like the old retired guys - they kinda, they get overwhelmed with emotion," said McCarthy.

"They would just say how much do you need and when do you need us there? That is what I love about this town. They will do and do until it's all done," said Naughton.

Organizers say they are still looking for more volunteers to help out over the next five days.

Contact Pioneer Park Playground if you want to help.

Call (541) 310-7306 or go to www.pendletonconnect.org