Washougal’s Hamllik Park gets a makeover

City hopes to ‘bring life back’ to park with new playground, mural, basketball court

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Children play at Hamllik Park in Washougal on April 18, 2024 (Doug Flanagan/Post-Record)

Washougal’s Hamllik Park is getting a makeover this year. 

The city of Washougal held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the park’s new playground April 18, and plans to break ground on the construction of a basketball court at the Addy Street park later in 2024. 

Later this month, on Sunday, April 28, community members will begin painting a mural designed by the East County Citizens Alliance and Washougal residents on the park’s restroom. 

“There’s lots of good work here at this park,” Washougal Public Works Director Trevor Evers said during the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “This is the first phase of what we hope is many phases. We’re really trying to bring life back into this specific park.”

The City received a $50,000 Community Development Block Grant in 2022 to fund the purchase and installation of a new playground and the removal of the old one, which was more than 20 years old, according to the City’s public works business administrator, Michelle Wright. 

“It was way past its life span,” Wright said of the playground. “When you start trying to buy replacement parts after things start breaking, it’s really time to replace the whole thing. We reached out to our friends at CDBG and started applying for grants.”

The playground, which was installed in late 2022 by the Yacolt-based Western Union Civil Group, features a treehouse play structure, slide, bridge, climbing structures, a swing set and two spinners Wright called “mini merry-go-rounds.”

“The really great thing about when you build stuff like this is that they provide Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility to some of the playing elements. That was really important for the design. We wanted to make sure it can be used by all,” Wright said.

“We chose the treehouse because the park is so beautiful and open, and has trees and everything, so we wanted to make it look natural, but give all ages different play structures,” Wright said, adding that there are elements of the new playground that cater to a variety of children’s ages and skill levels. 

“That’s really important in the diversity of a playground, too, being able to accommodate all different levels and all different skill sets,” she said. “That’s really what we were looking for.”

The City is also working on a multi-component project that will install a basketball court at Hamllik Park, repair several sections of the walking path that encircles the park, add an ADA-compliant parking stall in the southwest corner of the parking lot, and possibly construct new dugout structures for the baseball-softball field, depending on fund availability. 

The project also will provide stormwater drainage to account for the increased impervious surface of the basketball court, according to Jason VanAalsburg, the City’s public works management analyst.

“We’re trying to give the neighbors in this area what they want as far as features go, and we’re looking for activities that can impact 12 (year olds) to 20 year olds and give them some things to do,” Wright said. “All this was happening during COVID. The disc golf (course at Hartwood Park) was created based on that thought process, too — get people active and moving.”

The City will pay for the $168,000 project using CDBG funding and park impact fees, according to VanAalsburg, who said the City hopes to break ground on the project soon. 

“We have wrapped up the design and received tentative engineering approval from our planning and engineering departments,” VanAalsburg said. “We have design and bid documents submitted to CDBG for approval, and once we have approval from CDBG, we will be putting this project out to bid. I am hopeful that this will happen in the next month or so. Construction would then begin early summer and be completed by the end of summer.”

The full-sized basketball court will be located north of the bathroom building and west of the picnic shelter. 

Residents bring mural vision to life

The East County Citizens Alliance received $2,000 from the city of Washougal’s Arts Commission in November 2023, to install a community created mural on the bathroom building at Hamllik Park. Later that month, the Washougal-based nonprofit held a brainstorming session, during which community members were invited to provide input and feedback on possible mural designs. 

Five Washougal artists transformed the community ideas into a conceptual design, which was later approved by the Arts Commission, according to East County Citizens Alliance volunteer and project co-manager Kathy Huntington.

“Dibond and paints were purchased, then the background grass and sky and the outline of the design were transferred to the dibond, which will be mounted to three sides of the Hamllik Park bathroom building,” Huntington said. “And now we are ready for the first of two community painting days to fill in the colors and bring the mural to life.”

The first “community painting day” will be held from noon to 2 p.m. Sunday, April 28. Pizza and drinks will be served.

“On this day, the sections of the mural that will cover the back side of the building will be painted,” Huntington said. “In May, there will be another day for the community to paint the sections of the mural, which will be mounted on the sides of the building. The artist group will do touch-ups and add a protective coating to the mural surface. Then we’ll coordinate with the City to mount the mural and celebrate the creation of a lasting piece of art developed and produced through community input, cooperative design and shared painting.”

The Washougal Art and Culture Alliance (WACA) has agreed to provide some funding for the project, which is estimated to cost $3,723, according to WACA President Molly Coston.

“We hope this project becomes a model for collaboration amongst Washougal organizations and the city to bring creative, joyful, impactful projects to life — projects (that) value the input of a broad cross section of community voices, involve cross-generational collaboration and add value not only in the end product, but also in the process of bringing the vision to life.”