Thursday, September 29, 2022

Kiwanis Park playground temporarily closed for renovations; ‘unique’ features for creative play promised

A 3D rendering of the new Kiwanis Park playground. (Courtesy City of Williamsburg.)
A 3D rendering of the new Kiwanis Park playground. (Courtesy City of Williamsburg.)

Kiwanis Park is undergoing a facelift and will soon offer more for children and parents alike.

The playground at the park, located next to James Blair Middle School on Longhill Road, is being demolished so a new and more accessible one can be built in its place.

The demolition of the old playground is nearly complete, said Michael VanAudenhove, city parks superintendent. Construction of the new playground will begin in the next few weeks.

In addition to slides and swings, the new playground will feature two new and accessible pieces of play equipment for kids, including a rotating climbing station called Rev8 and an adventure zip line, that VanAudenhove said are not available in the community’s other playgrounds.

“We have a lot of people that come to this area from all over, and we wanted to have a playground that families would come to Williamsburg knowing the playground was a selling point to their kids,” VanAudenhove said.

Parents may also want to visit so they can use the park’s new exercise equipment while their children play, he said.

VanAudenhove said the park will have about nine exercise machines that will allow park-goers to do chest, leg and shoulder presses, leg extensions, butterflies and more. The machines, made by GreenField Outdoor Fitness, will face the playground so adults can exercise as they keep an eye on their children.

Kiwanis Park's playground is closed through at least the end of May for construction. (Andrew Harris/WYDaily)
Kiwanis Park’s playground is closed through at least the end of May for construction. (Andrew Harris/WYDaily)

In addition to the new Rev8 and the zip line, VanAudenhove said the park is designed to incorporate “unique” features that will allow kids to play and learn in refreshing ways. For example, instead of a one-way ladder, the park will offer kids a rock wall to climb.

“We wanted to make sure it was a creative place for kids to play and learn,” VanAudenhove said.

He added that safety was the primary concern when designing the park, which will be surfaced with a rubberized material that can absorb impacts such as falls.

The park will have two different clusters of equipment, one aimed at children 2 to 5 and another for kids between 5 and 12.

The reason for the project is to emphasize safety, City Manager Marvin Collins said at March’s City Council meeting. The council approved a $440,000 funding request to execute the contract with commercial playground distributor All Recreation.

The contract also included replacing a shelter at Waller Mill Park.

The revamped park will have a concrete walkway that will lead from handicapped parking spaces directly to the playground. A new and larger picnic shelter will also be available to guests.

Additionally, there will be two types of swings that are safer for young and disabled children, VanAudenhove said. One type of swing is made with a molded seat with a restraint that keeps children in place. The other will allow parents to swing along with their children.

The project is scheduled to be completed in late May or early June. The park’s softball fields and basketball and tennis courts will remain open during construction.

A diagram of the new Kiwanis Park playground. (Courtesy City of Williamsburg)
A diagram of the new Kiwanis Park playground. (Courtesy City of Williamsburg)

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