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Dillingham's downtown playground undergoes summer renovation

Little Airport Park playground. June 27, 2022.
Katherine Moncure
Current playground equipment at Little Airport Park

A group of regional organizations have partnered to renovate a playground in downtown Dillingham. The Little Airport Park playground across from SAFE will be under renovation starting July 7.

The project is led by the Bristol Bay Native Association through a mix of federal funding from the American Rescue Plan, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, Economic Security Act — or CARES.

BBNA has partnered with the City of Dillingham, the Bristol Bay Area Health Corporation, and the Dillingham City School District on the project. Liz Clark, the education and training manager for BBNA, hopes the renovations will help the playground become a place for kids when the other playgrounds are closed.

“The children who are in these programs with our home-based providers, they don't have adequate access to outdoor play throughout the day,” said Clark. “The playgrounds that do exist in Dillingham right now over at the school — they're closed to the general public during the school day. So that left us with the soccer field playground.”

Clark said after the new playground equipment is installed, the old equipment will be completely demolished.

“If you ever get a chance to look at that playground right now, it's in pretty rough shape. It's fairly dilapidated,” she said. “Some pieces are missing or broken, and it actually is a pretty big liability for kids to play on it in its current state.”

Supply chain issues forced BBNA to take more time planning the project, but it’s now ready to break ground. The construction will take about one month and will also improve wheelchair accessibility.

The Native association asks the public to keep kids away from the site until the project is complete. The grand opening is scheduled for August 7.

Get in touch with the author at Katherine@kdlg.org or (907) 842-2200.

Katherine is covering local stories in Dillingham and the Bristol Bay area for the summer of 2022, and she's excited to be in Alaska for the first time. She's passionate about all forms of storytelling, and she recently graduated from the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies, a 15-week intensive in radio and podcast production. When not working on stories or hosting the morning news, Katherine enjoys cooking, reading, and going on aimless walks. She'll pet any dog that wants attention.