Part of the renovation funds coming to Roosevelt Park will replace the aging play equipment. Photo by Kevin Hanson.

Wilkeson’s Roosevelt Park receiving makeover funds

Pooling money from a myriad of sources – from community rummage sales to a state grant – the town of Wilkeson is on track to renovate Roosevelt Park.

Pooling money from a myriad of sources – from community rummage sales to a state grant – the town of Wilkeson is on track to renovate Roosevelt Park.

The latest bit of good news came from the state’s Recreation and Conservation Office, which eyed a Wilkeson grant request quite favorably. Town Councilwoman Donna Hogerhuis had made a pitch for grant money in June and recently learned the application ranked No. 3 among 77 applications received throughout the state.

Pending legislative approval, the high ranking should assure the small town of a $43,000 windfall that would nearly bring fundraising efforts to fruition.

Wilkeson is hoping to replace worn playground equipment, level the Roosevelt Park playfield and add both pathways and parking stalls that meet Americans With Disabilities Act standards.

Park boosters hope the work can start next August and be completed by October 2017. Prior to the work, organizers will look for public input to determine new playground attractions.

The town has rallied to come up with $43,000 of its own, a necessary match for the RCO grant. About $9,000 has been generated by fundraisers that include a rummage sale, dinner auction and the sale of calendars by the Wilkeson Historical Society. The town has put up $5,000 and, additionally, received a $5,000 grant from the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe; the rest has come in the form of donated labor, material and equipment.

Don Hickle Excavating has been a primary donor when it comes to labor, along with members of the Wilkeson Eagles, who have volunteered to install the new playground equipment.

The 1.5-acre Roosevelt Park site has an interesting history that may be unknown to newcomers. During the World War I era, a series of apartment buildings were constructed on the site, serving as housing primarily for the area’s mine workers. Along the way, King County took ownership and, after the buildings were torn down in the late 1960s or early ’70s, the town purchased the property and created the park.

As part of the park renovation, organizers intend to keep the old sidewalks and install a historic marker with photographs, a map and quotes. Those who lived in the apartments are being sought to add an oral history to the site.

The town’s financial match is about $1,500 shy of the goal, but fundraising efforts are ongoing. Donations can be made at Wilkeson Town Hall or by phoning Hogerhuis at 360-367-0066. Additionally, calendars are being sold for $10 at Chuck’s Gas Station, Wilkeson Grocery, the Burnett store and Town Hall. The calendars began with September 2016 and run through December 2017.

Roosevelt Park started out as an apartment complex to house the town’s miners. The town purchased the land in the 1960s or 70s and built the park. Submitted photo.

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