Renovations are wrapping up in the next weeks at Lea McKeighan Park, bringing the park into the 21st Century.
It’s going to have play areas designed to help exercise young bodies and provide adventure (the tall play tower is designed to protect climbers from a long fall).
A monument for Lee’s Summit and the park’s history will use QR codes (quick response codes) that connect smart-phone users with a website for pictures and more information.
The project to rebuild Lea McKeigan South, at Chipman and Douglas roads, started last year, when the parks department had a grant it used to remove structures.
It started new construction in April and will open in two or three weeks, on budget, slightly more than $1.6 million.
Gary Welty, superintendent of parks construction, said the department this week is choosing dates for opening and the park dedication this week.
He said the department is looking forward to allowing people to use the park, but asks them to be patient just a while longer.
“It’s still a construction zone,” Welty said. “We’re having a little trouble keeping people out of there. There’s still a little bit of risk with work going on.”
Parks officials had hoped it might open earlier than the planned deadline of November, if weather cooperated. It didn’t.
“The contractor started April 1, got three days in, and is started raining,” Welty said. “And then we had rain in May, and June and July.”
Otherwise, the renovations have been going pretty much as planned, Welty said.
Tom Lovell, parks administrator, said he is excited about the results.
“I think it’s even better than we expected, actually,” Lovell said. “It’s created interest in the metro area, with people coming in to look at it.”
The playground with its high climbing tower will give children lots of exercise while playing and it helps them develop balance, eye-hand coordination and core strength, along with social skills, Lovell said.
Its see-through design allows parents to sit in the shelter but be fully aware of where their children are and what they are doing.
Lovell said the department will use technology as expand its monument that memorializes 30 years of baseball history and a legion of families using the park for youth leagues. The youth leagues have moved to fields at Legacy Park.
The physical memorial is built where home-plate used to be for ball-diamond No. 2.
On its placards QR codes will direct smart phones to a website, a technology used at Arlington National Cemetery and at Gettysburg National Military Park.
Using that method, the city can add more information without a clutter of information boards in park, Lovell said.
“It will be kind of unique,” Lovell said. “It will be a nice destination park.”