Tuesday, March 8, 2022

What is going on at North Field Park in Butler

In 2017 Jesse Schowengerdt came before City Council to talk about a sensory park for the City of Butler. During that meeting Mr. Schowengerdt talked about the importance of making sure all children in our community are accepted and included. Mr. Schowengerdt had a special interest in this project with his son having autism. An inclusive playground allows children of all abilities and development stages to play in the same space and creates a nurturing environment for all. 

An inclusive playground considers the needs of all kids and incorporates play equipment that addresses those needs and promotes growth and fun. This equipment not only can be used by the child with disabilities, but also by their brothers, sisters, and friends. Making this an inclusive playground for all.
In 2018 Butler City Council passed a motion stating that the $25.00 business license fee being collected from local businesses would help fund this park. That it would take several years to have money to buy equipment that had been suggested by Mr. Schowengerdt previously. During the next four years because of local businesses paying their licenses $11,025.00 has been raised for the park. This was still a very long way from what was needed to build the inclusive park.

In 2020 the City of Butler received a handicapped accessible wheelchair swing. This was made possible by a grant from the Bates County Health Center. The discussion again came up about the inclusive park and making this a reality for the community. A committee was formed to see the feasibility of the park and cost. The committee worked with several different companies on what equipment should be in the park and the best location. The committee realized very quickly that the equipment and infrastructure needed would be very expensive. That the park might have to be built in stages.

In 2021 the City of Butler received money from the American Rescue Plan passed by United States Congress. The City Council passed a motion to have $100,000.00 dedicated to the building of the inclusive park. The passing of that motion has allowed the necessary funding to be available to make our dream a reality. The committee took recommendations about the park to the Butler Park Board. In November of 2021 Mayor Henry signed an agreement with Athco LLC to build the inclusive park. This park will be the first one in Bates County and will be the only one within a thirty-mile radius of Butler.

On March 8th, 2022, Athco LLC will start building the new inclusive park. The park will be located within North Field Park next to the shelter house. The project is slated to take about thirty days to complete depending on weather. Once the playground has been completed and ready to be open, we will have a grand opening ceremony to commemorate the park. We hope that the community will be excited about this new park just as much as we are.

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