More than 100 Unalaskans attended the grand opening of the new Town Park playground Saturday, July 15, starting at 5:30 p.m. The opening included several speeches by contributors to the new park, as well as a ribbon-cutting ceremony and community barbecue.
The event began as Director of the City of Unalaska Department of Parks, Culture, and Recreation Roger Blakeley gave a quick welcome message and introduced Mayor Frank Kelty.
"This park is very different than what we had before. It's safer, and it just really looks great," said Kelty.
Kelty also had a more personal assessment of the park's "soft opening" during the previous weeks.
"I live about a block away and I can hear kids at all hours of the night out playing, so I know it's a hit with the younger generation," he said. Kelty expressed his gratitude for the hard working crews who helped the project come together, and then introduced PCR Operations Manager Nick Cron.
"Creative types like to think of things, but we can't do them without the people that can actually put together a playground," said Cron, as he proceeded to thank Unalaska's Public Works Department. He designed the park and gathered information from the public on what elements individuals wanted to see in a new playground.
"We tried to listen to as many people as we possibly could. I enjoyed that part a lot," said Cron.
That reserach was sent to Regan Engineering in Portland, Oregon, which drew plans for the playground and worked with the Department of Public Works on its construction.
Director of of Public Works Tom Cohenour was the next to address the crowd. He discussed the history of the park, which was erected in 1988, and thanked local parents for being patient during the recent construction process.
After the speeches, Blakely called several individuals to approach the large ribbon for the ceremonial cutting. Among the ribbon-cutters were City Councilor Alejandro "Bong" Tungul, Councilor Jim Fitch, Cohenour, Cron, and Park Commissioners Michelle Murdock and Greg Peters. Blakely and Kelty both gripped a pair of oversized scissors to help with the task.
Before the official ribbon-cutting countdown, Blakely gave one last instruction to the younger audience members, suggesting "When we cut this ribbon, you run into the park, okay?"
And with that, they were off.