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Sunrise Rotary Club plans to expand Sedgwick County Park playground

Eight-year-old Jade Stafford, left, and his brother, Jared Campbell, 12, play on the jungle gym at Sunrise Boundless Playscape in Sedgwick County Park. (Jan. 15, 2015)
Eight-year-old Jade Stafford, left, and his brother, Jared Campbell, 12, play on the jungle gym at Sunrise Boundless Playscape in Sedgwick County Park. (Jan. 15, 2015) The Wichita Eagle

A local playground designed for children with disabilities may be expanded.

The Sunrise Rotary Club of West Wichita is planning renovations to the Sunrise Boundless Playscape in Sedgwick County Park. The possible additions include a hedge maze, a natural play area, a small running track and a shade area, said Brent Thomas, one of the two landscape architects at Ruggles and Bohm working on the project.

“The idea behind the boundless playground is that it’s 70 percent accessible,” said Joel Rodell, chairman of the club’s playground committee.

That accessibility allows more children to play on the 1.5-acre playground and has contributed to its success. On a good day, the park is full of children playing, Rodell said.

“If you go to the park on a 75-degree Saturday afternoon, it’s ridiculous,” Rodell said. “There’s a hundred people out there, children and families.”

The playground was built in 2008 for $1.3 million, but it has some wear and tear, Rodell said. There were also some problems that could be seen only after the playground had been in use for a while.

“What started out as some nuisance items on the playground turned into us wanting to raise about $720,000 to do, obviously, a pretty significant expansion on it,” Rodell said.

The club hopes to raise enough money to complete the project in the next three years using fundraisers like its annual golf tournament in June and through donations. The work will be completed piece by piece as money is raised.

The park not only provides entertainment but also betters the lives of local children, said Mark Sroufe, superintendent of Sedgwick County Park and Lake Afton Park.

“It’s a quality-of-life issue for kids who have disabilities and not just kids with disabilities, but all kids,” Sroufe said.

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