Kiwanis Club of Matthews

Rice Park is located in the North-western portion of the Town of Matthews, NC. In 2006 the Parks and Facilities Master Plan for Matthews identified neighborhoods in this area as underserved in terms of access to a neighborhood park. Equity in access to park facilities is important in Matthews. Kiwanis Club members and other citizens voiced their strong opinion, that a park should be developed in this area as quickly as possible.

In 2012, the Town of Matthews received funding through the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund to purchase 10 acres for a future park in this area ($350,000). Funding to develop was not immediately available. Citizen surveys, public meetings and other informal data collection quickly revealed the diversity of residents that would benefit from this new park. The challenge quickly became designing a 10 acres site that would benefit the large population of active senior adults, younger adults with young children, as well as millennials that would be in walking distance from the park. The collection of hardwoods on the site also interested the nature enthusiasts. A full spectrum of abilities was also revealed across each of these groups.

Funding to develop the park became available in 2017. Actual cost to develop the park exceeded the budgeted dollars (as it often does). The project was divided into two phases, with some valuable park amenities were eliminated in phase 1. There was no immediate timeline established to begin phase 2. The Kiwanis Club of Matthews and the Town of Matthews are began working together to incrementally add those items that were eliminated into the park.

The Friendship Swing is one piece of previously eliminated equipment would be added if awarded the Legacy of Play grant. The multigenerational play feature fits the variety of playground users that visit Rice Park.

Sensory Play is a second element that would be added back in the park. Low level play for all abilities would serve Rice Park users. Outdoor Music Play was a popular amenity that citizens expressed a desire to have, when discussed during public input meetings. The Kiwanis Club of Matthews, Town of Matthews and the area park users would love to use Legacy of Play funding to allow purchase of these two playground amenities for Rice Park.

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