Tenino Playground Set to Open Thanks to Funds Secured in Large Part by State Rep. Peter Abbarno

By Matthew Zylstra /

A new playground is set to open in Tenino thanks to funds from the Washington state Capital Budget.

During a tour of the site on Thursday afternoon, construction company representatives guided public officials around the worksite and explained the different features the playground will have.

“There’s no wrong way to play,” said Peter Tammetta, the owner of the playground construction company Highwire, Inc. “Kids don’t want to be told how to play.”

State Rep. Peter Abbarno, R-Centralia, who as assistant ranking member of the House Capital Budget Committee played a key role in securing funds for the project, said he’s been working with the City of Tenino ever since a winter storm damaged Tenino’s old playground two years ago.

The City of Tenino received $515,000 for the playground, which is located in Tenino City Park.

“The playground was used by many children in the community and beyond,” Abbarno said. “My family would use it whenever we would walk or ride on the Tenino–Yelm Trail or attend events in Tenino.”

According to Abbarno, the city came to him for help with securing funds for a new playground. He then worked with his colleagues on the committee during budget negotiations to secure funding.

Since securing the funds, Abbarno has remained involved in the process by working with Tenino Mayor Wayne Fournier and attending city council meetings to review designs.

One aspect of the project Abbarno said was important to him was the use of inclusive playground equipment that allows children with disabilities to play as well.

Abbarno speculated the playground would be a fun place for children to play, even drawing children from Centralia and Olympia.

“Well I have a 9- and 11-year-old and they are just going to love this,” Abbarno said.

Abbarno believes the playground equipment could be a draw for older children who often become bored with playground equipment that’s often oriented toward younger children.

“This is where ninjas are created,” Abbarno said, alluding to the television show “American Ninja Warrior.”

The new playground is designed to appeal to all ages, including features for preschoolers and older children as well as an adult fitness station.

“There’s a trend in the industry toward a multi-generational experience,” Tammetta said.

Tammetta told the public officials about the importance of creating what he called “an environment hospitable to parents.”

Tammetta argued that children are often able to play all day and are limited by their parent’s willingness to stay.

The playground is set to open in two to three weeks, assuming supply chain issues don’t cause delays, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held in May.

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