The public is invited to join JCPRD for a ribbon cutting
to celebrate the opening of its newest inclusive playground in early July.
This ribbon cutting event will get underway at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 6, in the north Walnut Grove area of Shawnee Mission Park, and will run until 1 p.m. The free event will include comments from JCPRD and other local officials, giveaways, and a hot dog lunch.
Sometimes also called universal playgrounds, inclusive playgrounds are meant to enable all children to play together without physical or social barriers.
“Inclusive playgrounds are designed to go well beyond ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) requirements,” added JCPRD Deputy Director Jeff Stewart. “The Shawnee Mission Park Inclusive Playground will be the second within the JCPRD park system. The first was opened last September in Stilwell Community Park. Each playground has a unique design that offers experiences that all ages can enjoy.”
The new playground features: a Sway Fun Glider which can accommodate a wheelchair, a rolling slide table that participants can pull themselves along, an area with musical instruments, adaptive swings, a double-wide slide, sloped play areas, climbing elements, access ramps, low platforms; sensory play elements, smooth and textured surfaces, and a shade structure with water misters. This playground also includes a restroom building with four extra-large stalls meant to provide extra space for someone to be able to assist youth with special needs.
Planning and Development Manager Cliff Middleton said making sure these playgrounds are fun for all participants was a major goal for these projects.
“Hopefully, lots of families will come there, whether they have special needs children or not; they’re just going to come because they’re really fun playgrounds,” Middleton said. “Of course, having something that accommodates kids with special needs will be popular, too. There are some common elements between the two (JCPRD inclusive playgrounds), but we did try to make them different enough that you might want to take your family to one on one weekend, and you might want to go to the other the next weekend.”
The inclusive playground project in Shawnee Mission Park, and the one in Stilwell Community Park, were both added to the district’s 2018 capital improvements budget after the Board of Park and Recreation Commissioners expressed interest in adding inclusive playgrounds into the JCPRD park system
A majority of these projects were funded through JCPRD’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), but there were a number of funding partners which contributed to the inclusive playground projects. These include: the Helen S. Boylan Foundation, John and Marney Sherman, Royals Charities, Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation, the Sunderland Foundation, the Overland Park South Rotary Club, Reece Nichols Real Estate, and McKee Foods.
Shawnee Mission Park is located at 7900 Renner Road, Shawnee and Lenexa, while Stilwell Community Park is located at 207th and Metcalf, Stilwell.