Word is beginning to spread like wildfire about what’s going on at Kid’s Kingdom (what I would coin as Madison’s flagship children’s playground), but in case you haven’t heard, here’s the good news: Kid’s Kingdom is getting a much-needed facelift, and it’s 100% a sure thing.
The even better news is that this isn’t a far-off idea; The entire Kid’s Kingdom renovation is expected to be completed this winter, early 2022.
Madison, Alabama | Kid’s Kingdom Renovation
Matt McLellan, owner of Absolute Nutrition and Chair of the committee that is overseeing this project, shared that fundraising is well underway with $125k already raised via one generous donation and a handful of grants. $690k is needed though in total for this complete renovation, a renovation that McLellan says is designed with inclusion at the tip-top of the priority list.
IMPROVEMENTS BEING MADE
Kid’s Kingdom turns 25 years old this year, and McLellan says that it’s time to “take things up a notch” in a way that is designed for children of all ability levels to play alongside each other.
“We are focused on making sure that this new playground offers plenty of opportunities for those of differing abilities to interact and play together. We don’t want children feeling isolated or excluded. We want everyone to feel included and be able to enjoy the space together.”
He continued to share that “We want both children with special needs and typical children to come here and play, which we view as the ‘work’ of a child. Our goal is to ensure that the new revision of this playground allows us to include more of our community than ever before.”
Early concepts on the playground include sensory elements, face-to-face swings, a car or rover that allows for wheelchair access (but is fun for all), wide stairways and low angles, as well as many elements for those that have various mobility impairments.
The entire ground surface will be rubberized with an increase in overall shaded structures (which has been a high demand). There will also be a new adaptive-friendly zipline!
The parking lot will be expanded, and improvements to the bathrooms are in the works as well.
Additionally, McLellan says that the committee is also looking for ways they can improve and help accommodate more family gatherings at the park as well.
GameTime has been selected as the manufacturer of the equipment, and McLellan says that they have a “fantastic design manual for inclusion within the playground.” Click here to check out a video that features an array of what GameTime inclusive playgrounds offer. So neat!
FUNDRAISING for the Kid’s Kingdom Renovation
McLellan says that the Kid’s Kingdom renovation committee has an extensive fundraising plan that is already underway.
Their first big fundraiser kicked off last weekend with the “Cause We Can” event at Yellowhammer Brewing and continues until all of the select beers have been sold.
Those who are interested in helping with the fundraising process are encouraged to follow along on social media here for future events!
HOW TO GET INVOLVED
McLellen says the Kid’s Kingdom renovation is a combined effort among the City of Madison Parks and Recreation, Madison Visionary Partners, Madison City Disability Advocacy Board, the Madison Chamber of Commerce, E.WE Foundation, the Rotary Club of Madison, and Madison City Schools. The committee has an active Facebook page and website to follow along with.
Additionally, community members are invited to fill out a key survey.
“What we really need is to hear from parents with children that have various special needs. It’s the single most important piece of the design phase that we’re in.”
When asked why community members across the city should be involved and pay attention to what’s happening at Kid’s Kingdom, McLellan smiled and shared that “These are the next up-and-coming movers and shakers in this town. We want these kids to have the very best of what’s possible.”
He continued to share that “By caring about Kid’s Kingdom, you’re sharing in these kids’ interests and experiences and helping teach them early on that it’s okay for people to be different. These are their neighbors and their friends.”