WYANDOTTE COUNTY, Kan. — Families living near Parkwood Park in Kansas City, Kansas, will see brand-new renovations to its playground on Thursday.
This project by the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and KCK Parks and Recreation is in partnership with KABOOM!, Vibrant Health and CarMax Cares.
KABOOM! is a national organization that builds playgrounds to end playspace inequity. It is all about leveling the playing field.
“We think it’s really important that we continue to invest in our parks and provide safe spaces for our youth to play at,” said Wyandotte County Parks and Recreation’s Recreation Manager Shaya Lockett. “The neighborhood really cares about this park, and it is a staple in our community.”
KABOOM! connected the county with CarMax, a nationwide vehicle retailer, that funded the project. Lockett says while the funds came from outside the city, the vision for the design came from within.
“We got input, feedback from youth and adults in the community about what they wanted their playground system to look like,” Lockett said. “What you’ll see built on Thursday is actually based on the feedback we received from the kids in the community.”
Marcus Dotson and his children have been living in their home for 10 years. It is just right up the street from Parkwood Park. He is excited for the revitalization of the park because there are not a lot of options for kids in the neighborhood when it comes to play spaces.
“This will be very nice not to have to go out of your range or out of your distance to enjoy your park,” Dotson said. “Everybody goes down there for the swimming pool, but when the swimming pool is shut down, the kids need another activity to be involved in.”
Dotson says giving kids something to do — or somewhere to go — keeps them out of trouble.
“That’s what keeps kids going in other directions instead of just playing and having fun. You get bored enough, you try to find other things to do,” Dotson said.
Over 250 community volunteers, including youth like Sctiro Breland, will do the actual building. Breland says it is play spaces like this one, where kids actually grow up and find themselves.
“They need more playtime and they need more time to be themselves and play with other people — communicate with everybody else. I feel like playgrounds and stuff for children help with those skills,” Breland said.
She is happy she can pay it forward and give other kids a place to go.