Dining With Denise Neil

City of Wichita installs spinning globe of fun in downtown park

A new playground structure, designed to show off what modern playground equipment is like, has been temporarily stationed at the ICT Pop-Up Urban Park.
A new playground structure, designed to show off what modern playground equipment is like, has been temporarily stationed at the ICT Pop-Up Urban Park. The Wichita Eagle

All of a sudden, it just popped up – right there in the ICT Pop-Up Urban Park: a giant, spinning, climbable globe, situated in the center of a patch of green turf.

The addition, though artistic looking, is not the latest piece of public art to land at the hip, year-and-a-half-old park at 121 E. Douglas, which hosts food trucks and diners throughout the week.

It’s a piece of playground equipment whose purpose is to get Wichita excited about possibilities for the future of its public playgrounds.

The structure, owned by the city of Wichita’s Park and Recreation Department, is called “Global Motion,” and eventually it will find a permanent home at Dr. Glen Day Park at 2801 N. Grove.

But for now, it’s taking a tour of public parks to increase its exposure.

The first stop is the Pop-Up Urban Park, where the piece will remain for six to eight weeks, said Troy Houtman, the Park and Recreation Department director. After that, it will visit three other parks around the city.

The parks department teamed up with the Wichita Downtown Development Corp. on the project, which was aided by sponsorships from ForeverLawn of Wichita and Kansas Basement and Foundation Repair.

ForeverLawn provided the turf, which is fitted on the underside with a thick layer of foam.

“Basically, it’s like Memory Foam. We have done a ton in Wichita. It’s the safest stuff in the world,” said Tyler Kessler, the general manager at ForeverLawn.

Houtman said that though his department doesn’t have the money to install modern playground equipment across the city parks, he wants people to see what the possibilities are.

“We want to get some excitement behind it and show what some modern equipment looks like,” he said.

“Right now, I don’t have the funding for it, but I’m trying to get the excitement building and get folks to understand what we need to do to modernize our playground equipment.”

Denise Neil: 316-268-6327, @deniseneil

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