Klamath Falls, OR – March 5, 2021 – Since the onset of the pandemic, Blue Zones Project® – Healthy Klamath in partnership with the City of Klamath Falls have continued to make progress in efforts toward building an ADA-accessible destination playground in Moore Park.

In October 2019, elementary students were asked to draw and describe their dream playground. Based on the students’ input and drawings, a schematic design was created and unveiled on Design Day. More than a playground, this project will be a community gathering space for children of all abilities to enjoy. A focus of this project will be to create a destination playground that is accessible to all families, with rubber surfaces for those wheelchair-bound and structures that are ADA-friendly. Artistic elements that showcase the culture and history of Klamath Basin will be incorporated into the design. With features such as a lava cave labyrinth, a Klamath Tule Hut, and an F-15 Jet, the custom designed, 20,000 square foot playground will replace the current play equipment located next to the tennis courts in Moore Park.

“A year ago, we were poised to kick off our fundraising campaign, but as the COVID-19 Pandemic quickly changed the stability of economics in our community, we chose to delay local fundraising and focus on grant-writing efforts”, said Merritt Driscoll, Executive Director for Blue Zones Project – Healthy Klamath.

United Evangelical Free Church was an early supporter of the project. Pastor Troy Rife continued to reach out throughout the pandemic and seek ways that his congregation could support the playground. In February, the church donated $4,500 to sponsor equipment for the playground.

In a letter to Blue Zones Project, Pastor Troy stated “…we simply wanted to bless the children and families of the Basin because of how much Jesus loves all of us especially the children… We pray that God will provide the remaining funds and volunteers necessary to complete the wonderful vision you have for Moore Park.”

The donation from the church marks the largest private donation that the project has received so far. Local businesses and organizations can choose to sponsor equipment in the playground. Equipment pricing ranges from $600 – $12,000, and organizations will receive a plaque next to the piece acknowledging their contribution. Additionally, composite fence posts that can be engraved to commemorate family and personal donations are available for $50. The fundraising committee for the playground plans to reignite efforts this spring and begin sharing sponsorship opportunities more widely.

To get involved in the project, community members are invited to register on healthyklamath.org/playgroundvolunteer, donate at givesignup.org/DonationWebsite/MooreParkPlayground, or follow the progress on http://www.facebook.com/MooreParkPlayground. Questions may be directed via email to bluezonesproject@healthyklamath.org.