Lake Zurich residents are invited to have a little fun with a new park playground.
Ribbon-cutting festivities for the Paulus Park playground are set for 1 p.m. Saturday. It replaces Kids Kingdom Centennial Playground, which opened amid much fanfare at the park in May 1996.
Saturday's festivities will include prizes, children's games, a disc jockey, cake and ice cream in the park off Rand Road, north of Route 22.
Lake Zurich Recreation Manager Bonnie Caputo said the tree house-style structure, with slides and other amenities, will be handicapped accessible and designed in a way to encourage creative play.
"I think one of the best things about this playground is it was built with the intention all children can enjoy it," Caputo said Thursday.
Removal of Kids Kingdom and purchase and installation of the new equipment cost $247,546.
Officials said the village's membership in the National Joint Powers Alliance, a cooperative purchasing organization, resulted in a $48,495 discount for the equipment from PlayPower LT of Farmington, Indiana. With the discount, the playground equipment cost $164,696.
Residents have until Monday, June 9, to name the new playground. Submissions are being collected at lakezurich.org/playground.
Caputo said park and recreation department employees had bounced around ideas on what to call the play area. "It came back to, 'Let's give it to the community,'" she said.
Escalating repair costs and deterioration were cited by the village as the problems with Kids Kingdom, which had a castle theme.
Similar to an old-fashioned barn raising, Kids Kingdom was constructed in five days by about 1,000 volunteers to celebrate Lake Zurich's 100th birthday. It was designed by Robert Leathers, who at the time was a renowned recreational architect.
When it opened in May 1996, Kids Kingdom featured pirate ships, an Elvis maze, lighthouse, stage, sandbox, obstacle course, swings and the castles.