Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - After nearly four years of planning and fundraising, the new Westside Park playground will celebrate its grand opening on Saturday afternoon from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and all neighborhood residents and other Missoulians are invited to attend.

See the new $2.5 Million Upgrade

KGVO News spoke to Missoula City Councilor Heidi West, a resident of the neighborhood, about the new $2.5 million playground.

“We are having a grand opening celebration for the Westside Park on October 29, from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.,” said West. “The playground is finished and this is a culmination of this multi-year both planning and fundraising effort that involves pretty much the entire neighborhood and the local community and many people in the greater Missoula community who made the amazing upgrades to the park happen.”

Credit: City of Missoula
Credit: City of Missoula

A New Playground for a New Generation

West said many in Missoula remember how the park was refurbished in the 1990s, but this new playground is for a new generation of neighborhood children.

“The old playground that was there was the result of a community build in the 1990s, which also was a huge community effort,” she said. “After a couple of decades of children playing on it every day, it just needed to be completely redone. And so the project that replaced it ended up being about a $2.8 million project.”

West described some of the new amenities at Westside Park.

It has a Zip Line, a Big New Slide, and a Water Table

“It's got a zip line which is really exciting,” she said. “It has musical instruments. It has communications boards for kids that are nonverbal, to allow them to communicate with their peers and with their caregivers. It has climbers and it has a brand new big slide. The smaller playground for the younger children also has a water table, which basically offers a little bit more of a calm, playing space if you're a little one and maybe are overwhelmed by the larger splash deck that can also be found that the West Side Park.”

There will be an official grand opening ceremony starting at 4:00 p.m.

“We have a celebration that's planned from four to six in the afternoon,” she said. “There'll be some official words said towards the beginning of that event along with thank yous and Mayor Hess will be present to say a few words, and then we will also have about a dozen community partners that are hosting activities on the basketball court area, and we will have two food trucks.”

According to the Missoula Parks and Recreation press release:

‘The project was made possible by a $1 million grant from the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation and many private and public partners, including the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, the Giuliani family, the Tykeson Family Foundation, the Sunderland Foundation, Providence St. Patrick Hospital, Missoula County Public Schools and the North Missoula Community Development Corp. The City of Missoula’s $350,000 contribution was funded by developer impact fees and the City’s Capital Improvement Program.’

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