Glacier Valley Rotary President Sharon Burns and Mayor Ken Koelsch cut a ribbon on the new playground equipment at Riverside Rotary Park on Saturday, July 28, 2018. (Alex McCarthy | Juneau Empire)

Glacier Valley Rotary President Sharon Burns and Mayor Ken Koelsch cut a ribbon on the new playground equipment at Riverside Rotary Park on Saturday, July 28, 2018. (Alex McCarthy | Juneau Empire)

New playground equipment open for playtime

Riverside Rotary Park gets new surfacing, equipment thanks to city sales tax

Glacier Valley Rotary President Sharon Burns stood on stairs of a brand-new playground structure at Riverside Rotary Park as a little girl slid down a green slide behind her.

Other children yelled and laughed as they rode a spinning piece of equipment called a Supernova.

“I don’t mind having kids screaming in the background because we’re in a park,” Burns said, “and it means they’re having fun.”

Burns and other members of Glacier Valley Rotary gathered at the park Saturday morning to unveil the new playground, which was funded by city sales tax revenue. The playground equipment, which has a much more modern look than the old wooden slides and structures, cost around $175,000, Glacier Valley Rotary Playground Build Coordinator Charlie Williams said.

The park is a popular destination for families in the area, Williams said, and they didn’t want the children playing on equipment that was installed in the early 1990s anymore.

The playground equipment was shipped up to Juneau just before the Fourth of July, Williams said, and it took volunteers from Glacier Valley Rotary just one day to put it all together. Instead of sand, the playground has security surfacing. There’s a new “rocket ship” structure, and the Supernova is a large spinning wheel that was a crowd favorite Saturday.

Saturday’s brief ceremony involved a ribbon cutting where Burns and Mayor Ken Koelsch invited all the children present to come up and stand with them as they cut the ribbon for the new equipment.

“I’m going to invite my grandkids and I’m going to invite everyone else’s kids and grandkids up here because it’s their park,” Koelsch said. “We’re going to cut the ribbon, and then we’re going to play.”

That’s exactly what they did, as children ran back over to the Supernova and the rocket ship as rotary members picked up the ribbon.

The reconstruction of the playground, Williams said, is part of a master plan for the popular park. The plan involves building a bigger shelter for people to have events or picnics and making a new exercise area, among other goals. Glacier Valley Rotary paid for the master plan, Williams said.

Much of the playground is handicap accessible, and there will be a wheelchair-friendly swing installed soon. Williams said they were shipped the wrong parts for the swing, but should have it installed shortly.

Glacier Valley Rotary president-elect Dan Dawson was also present, and said the park means a great deal to the people who live nearby and they deserve the best park they can get.

“It’s really wonderful,” Dawson said. “We just live around the corner here and a lot of people really use this park. This is really becoming an anchor in the Valley for a lot of families. The more user-friendly it can be, the better it is for the whole community.”

• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at 523-2271 or Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.

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