Wyden, Merkley: Hermiston Playground to Receive $250,000 Federal Grant to Rebuild after Fire

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley said today that a Hermiston playground destroyed by fire in 2019 will receive $250,000 in federal funds to rebuild.

“Oregonians prove time and again their resilience and commitment in the face of adversity, and these federal dollars are greatly needed to restore a much-beloved playground,” Wyden said. “I am proud to team up with the leadership at Umatilla Electric Cooperative and Hermiston leaders who continue to build safe and healthy spaces. In challenging times like these, it’s more important than ever to invest in public playgrounds because they provide safe, fun gathering places for families and friends to enjoy the outdoors free of charge.”

“Especially in the middle of a deadly pandemic that is forcing Oregonians to make countless sacrifices, our families and our children need fun and safe places to play outside,” said Merkley. “I’m grateful that this funding is headed to Hermiston to help rebuild Funland, and I will continue working to make sure kids and families have what they need to thrive in every corner of our state.”

The Umatilla Electric Cooperative will use its $250,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant to help rebuild Funland Playground in Hermiston’s Butte Park. The playground structures will be rebuilt using modern, non-combustible and vandalism-resistant materials. The funding will also be used to improve safety by installing more lighting and surveillance cameras.

“We are proud and excited to be able to leverage these USDA funds to help further the return of Funland, and we commend all who planned and built this worthwhile community project,” said Robert Echenrode, General Manager & CEO of the Umatilla Electric Cooperative.

The USDA Rural Development program is still accepting grant applications to support economic development in rural communities. Grants of $50,000 to $250,000 are available through the Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI) Program. These grants are awarded on a competitive basis. Electronic applications must be submitted to grants.gov by 9:00 pm on March 22, 2021. Paper applications must be received by 4:00 pm PST on March 29, 2021.