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Taking shape
New Vets toddler playground fixtures installed
COURTESY PHOTOS This weekend, a small team installed the play features at the new Veterans Memorial Park toddler playground. When the work is all finished, a grand opening will be held, but not date has been set.


The new Veteran’s Memorial Park toddler playground come to life this past Saturday and Sunday. Great Bend Recreation Commission Executive Director Diann Henderson said it was a couple of long hot days, but the work at the southeast corner of the park is underway. 

On Saturday, a small crew comprised of staff members from the Rec Commission and City of Great Bend Park Department began installing the features. They were under the direction of Keith Nolte from Athco LLC and Chris Umphres from GBRC, who is a certified playground inspector. The Great Bend Fire Department assisted in raising the Oodle swing and installing firehouse loft framework.

The area will be 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. 

Henderson said work will continue this week by Park Department and GBRC to finish the concrete and add the finishing touches to the little house and fire engine lofts. The poured-in-place solid surfacing is scheduled to be installed by mid-August that will allow the playground to be usable.   

Upon completion of these processes and landscaping, a grand opening will be held.   

The playground was designed and funded by the Great Bend Recreation Commission for $53,700, with the Golden Belt Community Foundation contributing an additional $34,047 for the equipment and surfacing. The City of Great Bend has provided the landscaping, site work and concrete work for this new playground project. The Kiwanis Club will sponsor benches around the playground.  

In mid-May, city crews removed the ol faded plastic toys. A project was in the works for about two years to replace the deteriorating 15-plus-year-old equipment and give the area a upgrade.

Rains and flooding at Veterans Memorial Lake delayed the effort.  

For more information, contact the GBRC at 620-793-3755.