Centralia Coal Transition Board Supports The Recreation Park Renovation Project

For Immediate Release


Centralia, (April 29, 2019) The Centralia Coal Transition Boards are pleased to announce they are supporting the Chehalis Foundation and the City of Chehalis in their efforts to revitalize Recreation Park with a rebuild of the Penny Playground.  The Weatherization Board has approved a grant in the amount of $50,000 for improvements to the electrical system which includes the addition of LED lights that will cover a larger area while reducing the number of lights for a significant power savings. The Economic & Community Development Board has awarded a grant in the amount of $300,000 which funding will be applied to support the American Disabilities Act (ADA) playground surfacing and walkways within the Penny Playground area.

“We see both of these funding opportunities as a way to support to the community with safety enhancements to a place where families gather to enjoy the outdoors, and a place where kids have an opportunity to play together without barriers”, said Lori Schmitt Funding Board member. “25 years ago, the community, including children collected pennies to support the original Penny Playground. It’s exciting to award funding dollars to a project that was built 25 years ago and still has the support from the community. We look forward to watching the renovation take place and seeing the results.”  

The Weatherization and Economic & Community Development Boards were formed as a result of the 2011 Agreement between TransAlta and the state of Washington. This agreement allows for the Centralia plant to move away from coal-fired operations with one unit shutting down in December 2020 and the second unit in December 2025. TransAlta is investing $55 million into Lewis and South Thurston Counties and the state of Washington through the Coal Transition Boards.

“There is a genuine need to replace the play structures in Penny Playground”, said Tim Sayler, Chehalis Foundation President. “We see our support in fundraising for this renovation as another opportunity to bring the community together to honor the legacy of the original Penny Playground and to create a new one for our future generation. With the support of the community we will create a fun, challenging, and safe Penny Playground that will serve all children of Chehalis and surrounding areas for generations to come. “

The Chehalis Foundation is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit community foundation. Contributions sustain the Foundation’s ability to support the City of Chehalis with civic improvements, parks and recreational facility improvements and provide state-of-the-art educational programs and opportunities for children.

Overview of the Centralia Coal Transition Funding Boards:

Annual payments for the funding boards have been made since 2012 with the last payment due December 31, 2023.  The opportunity to start flowing dollars into projects became effective December 31, 2015.

Weatherization Board ($10M): established to fund energy efficiency and weatherization for the residents, employees, business, non-profit organizations and local governments within Lewis County and South Thurston County; up to $1 million shall be allocated to fund residential energy efficiency and weatherization measures for low-income and moderate-income residents of Lewis County and South Thurston County;

Economic & Community Development Board ($20M): established to fund education, retraining, economic development, and community enhancement; at least $5M shall be allocated to fund education, retraining and economic development specifically targeting the needs of workers displaced from the Centralia facility;

Energy Technology Board ($25M): established to fund energy technologies with the potential to create environmental benefits to the state of Washington.

For more information on the Centralia Coal Transition Funding Boards visit: