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$700K Jungle Jym renovation proposed
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The Jungle Jym at Milner Recreation Center could be in line for $700,00 in renovations over the next three years.
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Stella George, 7 months, enjoys time with her mother, Hailey Taylor. The two utilized the kiddie area of the Jungle Jym on Thursday. - photo by Lisa Hobbs

McMinnville’s community playground swung into our hearts when it was built 25 years and named The Jungle Jym. 

A $700,000 improvement project has been proposed, a project that would replace the weakening wooden structures built largely by volunteers a quarter century ago. 

“We were hoping to obtain a grant that would have paid $150,000 each year for three years, for a total of $450,000, to make improvements at the Jungle Jym,” said McMinnville Parks and Recreation director Justin Scott. “We weren’t approved for the grant. We have requested $280,000 in this year’s budget to begin making improvements.”

Also proposed is $210,000 in fiscal year 2023-24 and $210,000 in fiscal year 2024-25, so that work can be completed in three phases. 

The initial $280,000 will be used to renovate the front kiddie section.

“About $110,000 of the $280,000 is primarily surfacing with removal of the wood chips and placement of rubber,” said Scott. “As a cost-saving measure, we’ll be doing as much of the work in-house as possible. We can continue to use wood chips. It’s cheaper, but those have to be replaced annually and that’s very costly.”

Also slated for removal will be the wooden structures.

“The thing about the Jungle Jym, it’s an old wood structure,” said Scott. “It is showing its age. It requires a lot of maintenance. It’s splintering. We would like to improve and upgrade. Get away from some of the maintenance that we have to do annually.”

Plans were unveiled for the Jungle Jym in September 1996 with an army of volunteers helping with actual construction.

“It was constructed by the community,” said Scott. “As we make improvements, we will remember that there were a lot of hands that built it. We want the community to be proud of it and by making upgrades, ensure it continues to serve the parents and grandparents who bring their children and grandchildren to play there.”

Also requested is $53,000 for a new kiddie slide at Gilley Pool, a replacement for the smaller platform two-tunnel slide which was removed.

“We were needing to replace some parts this year on that slide,” said Scott of the kiddie slide. “What we discovered is that the parts were going to be quite expensive. We made the decision to go ahead and take it down. It’s was 20 years old. Because it was a very popular slide and a great attraction for the children, we wanted to replace it with something. We received estimates and we’re requesting $53,000. It won’t be the same, but it will be comparable to what we had.”

McMinnville Parks and Recreation Department’s proposed operating budget for fiscal year 2022-23 is $2.4 million. That budget was given initial review by the city Parks and Recreation Committee, but has yet to be approved.