A new playground surface will be installed this spring at Lake Meridian Park in Kent. COURTESY PHOTO, City of Kent

A new playground surface will be installed this spring at Lake Meridian Park in Kent. COURTESY PHOTO, City of Kent

Lake Meridian Park playground in Kent to get new surface

State awards $100,000 grant to city to help pay for spring project at popular park

The playground at Kent’s popular Lake Meridian Park will get a new surface this spring.

The city of Kent applied for and received an $100,000 grant from the state Recreation and Conservation Office through the Local Parks Maintenance grant program for the resurfacing project. The city will kick in another $100,000 to cover the project’s cost, according to an email from Bryan Higgins, city parks capital project manager.

“This project will replace the Poured-in-Place playground surfacing that is nearing the end of its useful life,” Higgins said. “The project is scheduled for completion this spring when weather allows and will require the playground to be closed for approximately one month while the work takes place.”

The park is at 14800 SE 272nd St.

The state Recreation and Conservation Office announced in November 2023 the award of $4.7 million for 53 projects through its Local Parks Maintenance grant program. The Legislature created the grant program in 2023 to address maintenance backlogs in local parks.

The grants were between $35,000 and $100,000 and can be used for general maintenance of things such as trails, restrooms, picnic sites, playgrounds, signs and kiosks.

“Parks in 25 counties will get much-needed repairs - picnic shelters reroofed, tennis courts restriped, pools relined and lawn mowers replaced - thanks to one-time funding for backlogged parks maintenance projects and needed equipment,” according to a state Recreation and Conservation Office news release.

In addition to Kent’s grant for the playground project, other projects across the state included a new roof for ball field restrooms in Forks, a new maintenance truck for the Port of Mattawa and a new lawnmower in Othello.

“We are seeing an overwhelming demand for this type of funding,” said Megan Duffy, director of the Recreation and Conservation Office. “During the pandemic and continuing today, more people are visiting parks, which can strain staff and facilities, especially in smaller communities. These grants will begin to make a difference in those places.”

According to its grant application, the city of Kent will use the funds to replace the trademarked Poured-in-Place rubber surface and the artificial grass in the destination Lake Meridian Park playground. Originally built in 2011, the playground is a destination playground in the city’s only park with lake access for swimming, making it especially popular in the summer.

The rubber surface is peeling up in many places and the artificial turf on two small play hills inside the playground has many tears. The city intends to keep the nature-theme design when replacing the surfaces.

Lake Meridian Park also contains a shelter to rent, bathrooms, open lawns and a boat launch. Additionally, Kent holds its summer concert series at the park which is attended by thousands of people annually.

Completing these repairs will improve safety and accessibility, extending the useful life of this heavily used play structure, and allow the playground to continue to be enjoyed and loved by the community for years to come, according to city parks staff.

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The wear and tear on the Lake Meridian Park playground surface. COURTESY PHOTO, City of Kent

The wear and tear on the Lake Meridian Park playground surface. COURTESY PHOTO, City of Kent

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