Children who showed up Friday morning at Veterans Memorial Park got to be the first ones to try out the new toddler playground.
There was rain only an hour earlier, but the sky cleared and a crowd showed up on schedule. Chris Umphres from the Great Bend Recreation Commission and Dale Henning from the Park Department finished the last bit of work on the park’s fun features by hanging the “oodle swing” in its frame.
Officials from the City of Great Bend, including Sparky the Firedog mascot from the Fire Department, were there, as were representatives from the Great Bend Recreation Commission and GBRC Foundation, Golden Belt Community Foundation and Great Bend Kiwanis. The Bill J. McKown Endowment Fund also helped underwrite this accessible playground. The area will be made handicapped accessible with designated parking, ramps, a sidewalk and a specially designed swing.
It features “smart play structures” including a fire station and playhouse loft in addition to an updating of the current toddler swings and a xylophone-like instrument.
The kids joined the adults for a ribbon cutting and then set about discovering the play features. Everything is toddler-sized, from the slides and swings to the xylophone. The toddler playground is just east of the playground equipment for larger children.
Diann Henderson, executive director of the Rec Commission, thanked everyone involved in this community effort.
“They worked through many hot days – and rain – to install these play features,” she said. Still to come are shade toppers and landscaping, but the playground features are now available to use.