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Take a closer look at northeast JoCo’s newest playground

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The long-awaited playground at R Park in Roeland Park is finally open, completing the final phase of a three-part plan to revitalize the park on Juniper Drive.

Improvement efforts for the park on the site of a former elementary school began in 2015.

Weather-related delays this past winter set the playground’s completion date back earlier this year.

Now that the playground is open — and the days are sunnier and warmer — children and their caretakers are flooding R Park to play and enjoy the new amenity.

Here’s a look at what some of the first users are saying:

Lauren Wortham was checking out R Park’s new digs with her 8-month-old daughter, Eleanor, on a recent afternoon.

Wortham, who lives only a few minutes from the park, said Eleanor is too small to enjoy the playground now, but she definitely will when she’s older.

R Park new playground has opened.
Photo credit Bek Shackelford-Nwanganga.

“We’re really excited having a little one just knowing that she’ll get to grow up with a space to play outside,” Lauren Wortham, Eleanor’s mother, said.

Photo credit Bek Shackelford-Nwanganga.

Wortham added that she expects Eleanor to eventually learn to ride her bike on on the new traffic garden near the playground, which has attracted lots of little bikers and scooter riders. 

“We love that there’s a bike path and just lots of different areas for kids of all ages and stages to play.”

A youngster makes his way on two wheels over a bumpy path in the new traffic garden at R Park, which is designed to teach young cyclists the rules of the road in a safe setting. Photo credit Bek Shackelford-Nwanganga.
A girl plies a scooter along the traffic garden pathway. Photo credit Bek Shackelford Nwanganga.

Dong Pei and his 4-year-old daughter, Luna, were also enjoying the park. Pei also lives nearby and said the new playground is “gorgeous.”

“It brings a lot of energy to the community, and my daughter really loves this park,” Pei said. “She loves to play here and enjoy a relaxed evening after dinner.”

Luna Pei on one of the slides at the new R Park playground. Photo credit Bek Shackelford-Nwanganga.

There are a lot of great parks in Johnson County, but Crystal Alvarez said she can’t get her four children to go to any park other than this one. Before R Park was complete, she said they bounced around to different parks a lot. 

“So far this is the only one they want to go to, so we’re just for now sticking with this one,” Alvarez said.

The new playground sits on the eastern side of the park, next to the traffic garden and some tennis courts that were were already there. Photo credit Bek Shackelford-Nwanganga.

Alvarez’s kids brought their scooters to play in the traffic garden on a recent afternoon. Alvarez said she hasn’t seen a traffic garden before and it is her favorite feature at R Park.

Crystal Alvarez’s daughters ride their scooters at the park. Photo credit Bek Shackelford-Nwanganga.

What’s next:

  • On Saturday, April 29, the city of Roeland Park is throwing a party to officially mark the opening of the new R Park playground. 
  • The event lasts from 1-3 p.m. and will feature games, treats, a ribbon cutting and more.
  • There will be a bike parade for park-goers to participate in around the traffic garden. The city says to decorate your bike and join in.
Photo credit Bek Shackelford-Nwanganga.

Go deeper: 🛝 5 to Try: Post readers pick the best playgrounds in JoCo

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