A ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, July 6, for the new inclusive playground located in the north Walnut Grove area of Shawnee Mission Park, 7900 Renner Rd., Shawnee and Lenexa.
The celebration will get under way at 10:30 a.m. and run until 1 p.m. The free event will include comments from the Johnson County Park and Recreation District (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.
The new playground will feature:
- Climbing elements
- An area with musical instruments
- A shade structure with a mister element
- A double-wide slide
- A rolling slide table that participants can pull themselves along
The equipment also features a Sway Fun Glider that can accommodate a wheelchair. The project also includes a restroom building with four extra large stalls meant to provide enough space for someone to be able to assist youth with special needs.
JCPRD’s first inclusive playground opened in late September at Stilwell Community Park, 6402 West 207th St.
The inclusive playground project at both parks was added to the 2018 capital improvements budget after the Board of Park and Recreation Commissioners expressed interest in adding inclusive playgrounds to Johnson County’s park system.
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 go there, whether they have special needs children or not; they’re just going to go 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.”