New playground equipment is being installed at Vance Creek Park in Elma thanks entirely to the generosity of one family. Grays Harbor County’s Director of Utilities, Facilities, and Community Development, Mark Cox said the old playground equipment was reaching the end of its life and the county budgeted for replacement of the play structure back in 2019. In 2020 the County began to make arrangements with Cascade Recreation to purchase a new play structure when they were contacted by the Druzianich family regarding a donation.
The Druzianich Family Charitable Foundation was started by lifelong Harborites and business owners Victor and Elizabeth Druzianich before their passing, and continued on by the children. Darryl Druzianich, the manager of the foundation, says that their goal is to use the funds to improve the lives of people in the surrounding area. Victor Druzianich was a former partner in the gravel operation that created Vance Creek Park and his son Darryl lives across the street from the park.
“This is the first of many improvements that the county would like to see at Vance Creek Park, said Cox. “The county has designed and budgeted for an off leash dog park that we hope to begin on this summer.”
Featuring full restrooms, picnic tables, and a paved walk around the ponds Cox said that Vance Creek Park is a very valuable asset for those living in the East County area and receives lots of use year round.
In early 2020, Darryl noticed the declining condition of the playground equipment and contacted then commissioner Randy Ross about wanting to help replace the equipment. Ross put him in touch with Cox and Mike Bruner, Fairgrounds, Tourism and Parks Director, and they got the ball rolling.
Cox said the new equipment is eye catching and that Druzianich wanted to make the playground set a great attraction for the park.
The county removed the old structure and footings, the Druzianich Foundation paid entirely for the playground equipment, roughly $70,000, while the county agreed to pay for shipping costs of $7,364.00. Administrators also worked with the purchasing cooperative King County Directors’ Association (KCDA) to discount installation, the wood chip surfacing material, site borders and ramps, and filter fabrics at a cost of $39,602. The Total investment for Grays Harbor County on this project was $46,966. Cox noted that the Little Tikes Kid Builder play structure that was purchased lists for $114,450.00 on the company’s website.
The county also plans to provide some benches and concrete walkways around the playground.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for May 25 at 3 p.m. at Vance Creek Park.