Jackson Park Inclusive Playground Project Receives Live Well Live Atchison / Blue Cross Blue Shield Grant Funds

 In ADA, City Boards & Commissions, Featured News, News, Parks & Amenities, Public Works News

A major playground investment at Jackson Park, which gained final approval from the Atchison City Commission in August, has officially received a $32,000 grant from Live Well Live Atchison by way of their partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield’s “Pathways to a Healthy Kansas” program. In exchange for the grant funds, the City adopted a tobacco free playgrounds ordinance earlier this year.

Recognizing that all kids love to play, the Jackson Park Inclusive Playground is designed to remove the barriers that limit children of different abilities from engaging in play activities together.  Through the incorporation of colors, textures, sounds, motions, quiet spaces and accessible equipment, the inclusive playground aims to provide a fun, safe environment where children can be social, develop skills, work on sensory challenges, learn from each other and most of all, have fun together.  The playground will feature a wheelchair accessible composite structure, a multiple occupant saucer swing, a merry-go-round, musical instruments and a tunnel mound, all of which will be installed over a unitary protective surfacing similar to artificial grass with an enclosed perimeter.

Construction on the inclusive playground project began last month, with demolition, site grading, and perimeter concrete having been completed since that time. The project is expected to be completed in 4-5 weeks, once the playground structures, surfacing, and perimeter fencing have been installed.

Earlier this year, a special project team comprised of employees in the Parks and Streets Divisions replaced a series of sidewalks throughout Jackson Park. Following those sidewalk improvements, the future site of the inclusive playground is now 100% ADA accessible, as are other facilities and structures in Jackson Park, including the restrooms, both shelter houses, and various playgrounds.

The inclusive playground project was developed and vetted though the City’s Parks & Forestry Board over the last couple of years. The City aims to have the project completed prior to the end of 2018.

Summary: This project will construct a new ADA accessible, perimeter contained, inclusive playground at Jackson Park.

Cost: About $160,000

Funding: In 2017, City staff applied for funding through the Land and Water Conservation (L&WC) Grant Funds administered by the Kansas Dept. of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism. Unfortunately, that grant application was unsuccessful and the prospects for future funding through that program do not appear promising.

The City is thrilled to have the partnership of Live Well Live Atchison on this project. Live Well is providing $32,000 in funding through their participation in the Blue Cross Blue Shield Pathways to a Healthy Kansas initiative. In exchange, the City has adopted a “tobacco free playground” ordinance, prohibiting the use of tobacco in close proximity to any of the City’s playground facilities.

The City’s ADA Advisory Board has opted to contribute their $25,000 in 2018 funding toward the project. Additional funding opportunities exist through the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation and the Courtney S. Turner Trust.

Location: Jackson Park

Contractor: AB Creative

Status: Pre-Construction

Construction Start Date: Fall 2018

Completion Date: Year end 2018