University Kiwanis Club
This will be the only playground for 2-5 year-old children in the Wichita Falls, Texas, public park system. There are many 5-12 playgrounds in this city of 100,000, but few have any elements for younger children--maybe a bucket swing. The playground will be situated in University Kiwanis Park, a city-owned park supported by the University Kiwanis Club for over 40 years. Young children are establishing patterns they will follow for life; they need to be encouraged to explore and exercise. According to countyhealthrankings.org, Wichita County is the third worst county in the state of Texas in terms of adult obesity. If children become active as youngsters, they should maintain this through life. By offering safe, family-oriented, free physical activities, our hope is to see an improvement in Wichita County rankings. This will be an inclusive playground for 2-5 year old children; elements include features for autistic children, developmentally challenged children, and active children. The equipment includes sensory elements, age-appropriate physical challenges, and interactive play. There will be a Hedra Scout central play structure plus a four-bay swing set, an Omni Spin, toggle riders, cozy dome, and a ZipKruz. The park already includes four ball fields on which the YMCA holds tournaments, two restrooms, four picnic shelters and a large covered pavilion with 12 tables, a kite-flying area, and an existing 5-12 playground--and a prairie dog town. The new playground will be adjacent to the existing 5-12 playground (also funded by University Kiwanis) so that parents can supervise children in both age ranges. The University Kiwanis Club has run the concession stand during ball season for as long as there have been games (40+ years) with the help of the three Key Clubs and Builders Club which we sponsor, and proceeds from the stand go to the city for maintenance of the park. This last year $5,000 went to update the restrooms closest to the ball fields. Our club is committed to the upkeep and continued improvement of the park. The club has funds from its 64-year-long Pancake Festival to pay for replacement of the engineered wood fiber surfacing every 7-8 years as needed. The University Kiwanis Park is the second most-heavily used park in the city system and is used by 40,000 people in 2019 according to Mr. Terry Points of the Parks Department. We believe the addition of this playground for young children will complete the family-friendly offerings in the park. Children need to play. The Covid-19 situation has brought this home especially to those living in apartments and zero-lot-line housing. This playground will provide an outlet for all that energy.