By Frank Lockwood

Staff writer

HERMISTON — To raise a new Funland Community Playground from the ashes of last year’s suspected arson, no special skills or training are required, and insurance will pay most of the cost, but the project requires a small army of volunteers.

The playground site is situated between a soccer field and a summertime water playground near Hermiston Butte. Most of the structures were destroyed. Burned remnants of the old playground, the remaining few scorched boards, have been cleared away. Only bare ground indicates where children once climbed on slides and chased each other through suspended boardwalks, rope obstacles, and playground climbing equipment.

At 8 a.m. Monday, eight volunteers stood shivering from the chill air, and looked at the charred ruins of the old Funland, destroyed by a suspected arson fire in July. Some wore gloves, others warmed their hands by stuffing their hands in their pockets.

In the cool of the morning, a man in a blue watch cap and green jacket waved his arms, indicating different areas of the former playground, and pointed to maps that were spread on a frosty picnic table. The man was Michael Cohen, who had flown out from Leathers and Associates, of Ithica, N.Y., to consult concerning rebuilding the park. Cohen is one of 15 such consultants. The maps were outlines for a newer, somewhat larger and improved, children’s playground. For the full story please see the Jan. 15, 2002 issue of the Hermiston Herald.)

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