Yesterday we enjoyed an afternoon bike ride with Driving Miss Murphy. Our route took us through the West Wetlands Park where we checked up on the rebuilt of Yuma’s Castle Park.
We have ridden by this playground many times and it was always filled with children enjoying themselves. When we were home for Christmas last year we woke up on December 30th, and read the automated email from the Yuma Sun, we saw that fire had destroyed the playground.
Before I go on I need to explain about my daily emails from the Yuma Sun. For free you can sign up for a daily email of the Yuma Sun headlines but if you want to read the articles you have to pay a fee and I’m not willing to do that. Our home town has a local internet news feed that allows us to catch up on all the news from home for free so it annoys me that I have to pay for news from Yuma, but at least I can get the headlines.
After searching Google I did find out this information on the fire … Around 10:50 p.m. on December 29, 2014 the Stewart Vincent Wolf Creative Playground burnt to the ground, the cause of the fire was considered to be arson. A security camera video shows a bicyclist riding through the playground moments before the fire started but despite a reward of $50,000, no significant progress has been made into finding the person or people responsible.
This playground had been ranked number 19 among playgrounds in the world by the Special Education Degree’s website (not really sure who that is but it sounds impressive J). The playground, which opened in February 2007, covered three acres and was built entirely by volunteers using 9,600 man-hours per day over a twelve-day period.
Over our summer at home my morning Yuma Sun emails often had a line telling about the progress of the park rebuild. Fortunately the City of Yuma had insurance to cover the loss but the insurance company required the park to be built to an exact replica of the original. This required the City to buy the plans from the original architect and have him on hand during the rebuild. Many public meetings were held to discuss the design and by the end of May 2015 the general outline was beginning to come together. The budget included $1.2 million from the insurance company and more than $71,000 from numerous community fundraisers. The additional money raised will be used to construct additional play areas around the castle. On August 5, 2015 Yuma City Council approved the winning bid and construction of the new, and larger, playground began Monday September 21, 2015.
It has been fun to ride through the park and see the Castle Playground in the stages of rebuild. On our bike ride yesterday we could see that the playground is almost near completion and I later found out that the grand re-opening will be held on December 19th. We would love to go to that but we fly home that day for Christmas … I just can’t imagine going to a playground opening less than a week before Christmas!
Our ride continued on to the Pint House so we had to stop for a Chocolate Beer … which you may remember was The Best Beer Ever! After our arrival back at the park we enjoyed a few drinks at Miss Murphy’s RV before we headed back to Maxx for dinner.
Until next time …