A ribbon cutting date has been for the new inclusive playground located in Stilwell Community Park, 6402 W 207th Street, Stilwell.
The ribbon cutting event will get underway at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 29, and will run until 1 p.m. The event will include comments from public officials, as well giveaways, and a free lunch of hot dogs, chips, water, and cookies.
Sometimes also called universal playgrounds, inclusive playgrounds enable everyone to play together without physical or social barriers.
The new playground will feature: a sloped area with climbing elements; an area with musical instruments; swings; a shade structure with a mister element, a double-wide slide, and a rolling slide table that participants can pull themselves along. This playground also features a recessed merry go round which can accommodate a wheelchair. The Stilwell project also includes a picnic shelter and a nearby restroom building with four extra large stalls meant to provide extra space for someone to be able to assist those with special needs.
The inclusive playground project at Stilwell Community Park and another at Shawnee Mission Park were added to the 2018 capital improvements budget after the Board of Park and Recreation Commissioners expressed interest in adding inclusive playgrounds into the JCPRD park system
Once the funding was in place, a steering committee was formed and included representatives of the Stilwell Community Organization, local disability advocacy groups, as well as JCPRD board members Nancy Wallerstein and Paul Snider. Landscape architecture, planning and design firm Verio was hired for the project, and two well-attended public comment sessions were conducted. Wilcott Construction of Olathe was the successful bidder for the project.
Construction of the Stilwell playground was given priority, and construction of this amenity got under way earlier this year.
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.”
Construction on the other JCPRD inclusive playground in the north Walnut Grove area of Shawnee Mission Park got underway in mid-July with an opening later this year tentatively expected.