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JBLM elevates playtime with new challenge course playground

Children in the Evergreen housing community at Joint Base Lewis-McChord enjoyed trying out the new challenge course playground equipment after its grand opening April 19. Photo Credit: Pamela Sleezer, JBLM Public Affairs

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JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD - Garrison leaders at Joint Base Lewis-McChord joined Liberty Housing officials April 19 to celebrate the opening of a first-of-its-kind playground here that offers families a more challenging way to play.

Dubbed a challenge course playground, the play area in the Evergreen housing community on Lewis Main merges fitness with fun through an obstacle course of equipment that allows children to climb, crawl and swing across the space in a variety of ways. From ninja steps to floating boards and even a ninja wall reminiscent of the American Ninja Warrior competition, the area offers equipment that invites the whole family to get involved.

"This is one of the few playgrounds where mom and dad can get involved, too," said Joel Berman, Buell Recreation representative who designed the playground. "A lot of playgrounds are intended for kids only, with benches to the side for parents to watch their kids play. Here, this course allows parents to participate in the fun."

Berman said the new challenge courses are becoming a popular choice for playgrounds. He said Buell Recreation has designed many similar play areas, but that this is the first time to produce one for JBLM.

"I think the plan, now, is to see how this park is received by the community," Berman said. "We hope that the community enjoys it and that there will be more placed in other areas on JBLM. We are certainly open to that and would be excited to help make that happen."

Brian Brager, construction supervisor for Liberty Housing, said the park's opening had perfect timing, occurring just in time for the national campaign Take the Challenge that promotes taking a break from electronics and going outside and being active from April 22 through May 1.

"The park's opening today offers a great opportunity to take part in that challenge and enjoy some time hanging out with friends and family," Brager said.

Colonel Kent Park, JBLM commander, was on hand for the opening of the playground and took on a challenge from the kids in the crowd to test out the equipment.

"I know that everyone in this community is going to enjoy this, I sure did," Park said. "It's great to see such a fun park created for families here at JBLM. A big thank you goes to Liberty Housing officials for putting the time, energy and resources into bringing something like this into fruition."

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