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posted: 6/16/2014 7:30 AM

Park District Celebrates the Grand Opening of Jaycee and Kiwanis Parks

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  • Park Board Commissioner Jana Haas cuts the ribbon at the Grand Opening Ceremony of Kiwanis Park on Saturday, June 14.Lisa Haring

      Park Board Commissioner Jana Haas cuts the ribbon at the Grand Opening Ceremony of Kiwanis Park on Saturday, June 14.Lisa Haring

Lisa Haring

The Des Plaines Park District staff, members of the Park Board of Commissioners, and residents from the neighborhood celebrated the grand openings of Jaycee and Kiwanis Parks on Saturday, June 14. Both Jaycee Park, 1496 Wicke Avenue, and Kiwanis Park, 1700 Lincoln Avenue, were renovated in the Fall of 2013. The parks were designed with a nature inspired, earth-tone color scheme, that blends into the neighborhood. They both have new playgrounds that encourage kids to test their strength, balance, and hand-eye coordination, as well as offer an exhilarating aerobic workout, and encourage a creative, social experience. The parks each have a half basketball court, a picnic pavilion and table, and benches for reading and relaxing. New walking paths have been installed that connect the amenities to the sidewalks. "Upgrades to neighborhood parks and the continued maintenance of our all of our open spaces are two very important goals at the Park District," said Don Miletic, Assistant Executive Director. "These are your neighborhood parks and we want them to be a destination for fun and family time."

Jaycee Park has a Continuous Play Playground with five slides: a double wave slide, a double swoosh fast slide, and a tall sidewinder twisting slide; a variety of pieces designed for climbing, including a Sky Rail, a Fish Net, a Lollipop, a Clatter Bridge, and an Orbiter Spinner; and four swings: one bucket, two belt, and one American Disabilities Act (ADA) swing. It also sports the first man-made climbing rock in the District, The Pointe, that is accessible by climbing up a netted ladder. Jaycee has a new swing set with four swings: two belt, a bucket, and an ADA accessible swing.

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Kiwanis has two tree house structures with a "built-by-kids" feel that are connected by a variety of climbing apparatuses including a horizontal ladder, pod climbers, and a catwalk climber. The tree houses are perfect for "kids-only secret meetings" and have swoosh and swirl slide exits. Adjacent to the structure is a Peak Natural Climber, a smaller scale version of Jaycee Park's Pointe, that looks and feels like a real rock. The park also sports a log balance beam, the first of its kind in the District; two log and two mushroom steppers; and a Kids' Cabin that makes a perfect clubhouse, hideout, or fort. Kiwanis also has a new swing set with four swings: two belt, a bucket, and an ADA accessible swing. The new picnic gazebo at Kiwanis Park was partially funded by a $3000 donation made by the Kiwanis club of Des Plaines. A new bronze plaque that reads, "Dedicated to the past, present, and future members of the Kiwanis Club of Des Plaines," will hang in the pavilion. "We wanted a memorial to past Kiwanians and a way to thank them for their service to the community," said Carol Walker, President of the Kiwanis Club.

Both park playgrounds are set on a wood fiber surface that is clean, cushioned, and absorbs impact. "These are not just wood chips," said Chris Leiner, Assistant Superintendent of Parks & Planning. "This surface is designed to reduce injuries in case of a fall. Kids, by nature, are always testing their limits. This shock absorbing surface helps protect them when they ask 'How high will this swing go?' and "How many times can I be King of the Pointe?'"

"School is out," said Miletic. "These beautiful parks are within walking distance of one another. We hope everyone will come out and play."

For information about summer classes, programs, and events at the Park District, and to see all the amenities at every park, visit or call 847-391-5700.

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