Dream! Build! Play! Denton Parks share its vision with Kiwanis Club

Janie McLeod shares building plans for the Eureka2 Playground.

Janie McLeod shares building plans for the Eureka2 Playground.

Vicki Baker

Today’s parks play an integrated role in our urban environments and provide gathering places for building community. No longer seen as simply grass and trees, custom designed outdoor play spaces are reflective of children’s imaginations. Janie McLeod, Community Events Coordinator with Denton Parks and Recreation Department, presented the city’s undertaking of the new Eureka2 Playground to the Kiwanis Club at its October 16 meeting.

In 1995 hundreds of volunteers came together to design and build the original Eureka Playground at South Lakes Park. It was projected to last 20 years, and thousands of children enjoyed the park during this time. But the park no longer met the newer standards for safety, and the ongoing costs of maintenance of the older equipment continued to climb. The playground was in need of an update. Eureka2 Playground is being built on the site of the original with approximately 2,500 square feet for the enjoyment of toddlers, preschoolers and school-aged children, as well as being easily accessible to children with special needs.

The original playground was decommissioned in a ceremony on October 10 with demolition the following day. Fourth graders throughout the Denton ISD were consulted and drew their dream playground, no holds barred. The imaginative ideas were then submitted to a playground construction company, which then incorporated these into the final playground design. The result is one of the only handicap-accessible parks in the area complying with ADA guidelines and providing wheelchair accessible surfacing and ramping so children can play with elevated components.

In addition to donating $500 to the project, the call went out from the Kiwanis Club for volunteers to put their hard hats on, sling on the tool belts and don the work gloves. An army of volunteers will converge onsite swinging hammers, digging postholes, sawing boards and assembling equipment. The playground company provides the construction supervisors throughout the building process to ensure the structures meet safety rules and accessibility guidelines. The new playground will be constructed from recycled materials, making it durable, earth friendly, long lasting and virtually maintenance free. It features all the expected items like swings, slides and plenty of climbing spaces, but also offers tunnels, a monster truck, handicap accessible zip-lines, wheelchair accessible carousel, activity pads that include braille and more ramps and larger areas to provide easier mobility.

There is something magical about watching elected officials, public employees, parents, neighbors, business people and children working together to turn a dream into a beautiful new playground. A place where kids can come together and just be kids. Where every single kid will be able to act like a kid, regardless of differences. Where all kids will be given the same opportunity to learn, play and grow together.

Community-built playgrounds go well beyond the cost savings. The experience offers a rare opportunity for individuals to collectively give something back to their community, resulting in a beautifully constructed, unique expression of shared pride. If you are interested in supporting the Eureka2 Playground through volunteer service or donation, contact Janie McLeod at [email protected].