Five Lenexa parks are getting new playground gear. Here’s a look at the updates

Tamarisk Park is one of five parks in Lenexa that will be getting new playground equipment. All images courtesy city of Lenexa.

Five of Lenexa’s neighborhood parks will get new playground equipment through an agreement between the city and Lenexa-based Athco LLC, unanimously approved by the City Council this week.

The city will pay nearly $550,000 through its capital improvement program to buy the equipment and have Athco install it at Gillette, Heritage Forest, John McNerney, Sar-Ko-Par Trails and Tamarisk parks, according to a Tuesday memo to the council from Parks and Recreation Deputy Director Logan Wagler.

Lenexa Parks Superintendent Danny Huntsinger said in an interview that playground equipment in the city’s neighborhood parks (the smaller of which have no parking and are also called pocket parks) “are past their useful life, and we’re going to bring in something fresh.” Neighborhood park playgrounds should last from 18 to 20 years, he said, and they provide meaningful benefits for the community.

“Parks are heavily used and a big draw,” Huntsinger said. “I really love seeing families interact with one another, parents and kids alike. That’s one good thing about a playground. They really interact unlike anywhere else. It’s typically a little more relaxed play and enjoyable for everybody.”

Some of the parks’ planned new and remaining playground features, according to Huntsinger:

Gillette (91st Street and Noland Road; 1.3 acres)

Traditional swings will remain. The current playground equipment is 18 years old.

Here’s a look at the current set up:

And the planned update:

Heritage Forest (83rd Street and Pflumm Road; 46.6 acres)

The playground will remain without traditional swings but will have a mix of traditional and non-traditional features. The current playground is on south side of 87th street and not very visible; the new playground will be moved to north side of 87th. The current playground equipment is 21 years old.

Here’s a look at the current set up:

And the planned update:

John McNerney (Pennycross Road near 98th Street and Pflumm; 0.2 acres)

Traditional swings will remain. The current playground equipment is 18 years old.

Here’s a look at the current set up:

And the planned update:

Sar­Ko­Par Trails (87th Street Parkway and Lackman Road; 50.9 acres)

The playground will undergo the biggest makeover of the five and become a “destination playground.” It has traditional swings, which will be replaced. The new equipment will meet requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) for accessibility. The playground will have an elevated playground tower overlooking the pond. And it will have the first swing in any Lenexa park on which adults and children can swing at the same time. The current playground equipment is 16 years old.

Here’s a look at the current set up:

And the planned update:

Tamarisk (9018 Swarner Drive; 1 acre)

The new playground equipment will have more features, including climbing ropes that will be more challenging for children, a playhouse surrounded by artificial turf for 2-to-5-year-olds and ADA-accessible features. The current playground equipment is 19 years old.

Here’s a look at the current set up:

And the planned update:

Landcape Structures Inc., based in Delano, Minn., manufactures the equipment, Huntsinger said. Athco has a cooperative purchasing agreement with the state of Kansas, won through a competitive bid process, for the purchase and installation of all public playground equipment in the state.