As the school year comes to a close, let’s take a few minutes to consider the joys of summer break.
The majority of Great Bend’s residents have benefitted in recent months from an expanded play area at the playground at Brit Spaugh Park, and from the addition of a play area at the Great Bend Recreation Center at 17th and Adams. They’ve also benefitted from several city supported recreational facilities including the Veteran’s Memorial Park, the Great Bend Public Library, the Great Bend Brit Spaugh Zoo and The Wetlands at Great Bend Aquatic Center, otherwise known as “the pool.”
Young families and caregivers can access these neighborhood attractions with their kids by walking or pushing a stroller, and older kids can walk or ride their bicycles to them.
But there are many children who live south of 10th Street and east of Main Street who will be blocked from enjoying these attractions because it will require them to travel more than a mile and cross too many busy streets. Their only access will be by car, during hours when parents aren’t at work. Those simple summertime experiences will be essentially out of reach.
For these kids, there is Heizer Park and the tiny park at the corner of Park Street and Frey Street, both in need of modernization. Spending time in either park will point out quickly the imbalance.
The aforementioned playground projects were funded primarily through grants and the private efforts of individuals and service groups, and are a credit to the organizations that inspired them and will provide a lasting impact for the children who have access to them.
Great Bend has many service groups who have shown vision and worked hard to make our city, especially the downtown, a fun and interesting place to visit. Perhaps one or more will rise to the challenge of creating a similarly attractive and imaginative place to play at Heizer Park. That way, regardless of where in town they grow up, all of our kids can have access to safe, beneficial, active play.