Well-used neighborhood park is reopened for kids of all abilities

Sheila Kemper Deitrich Park at Gillham Road and East 27th Street has reopened. The park, designed to provide “creative play opportunities to integrate and challenge children of all abilities,” has been getting a makeover. The park was rededicated today, and after a ribbon-cutting ceremony, its once again open for kids.

The playground the Pitch Weekly calls the “best park for kids” has been spiffed up and reopened.

Sheila Kemper Deitrich Park at Gillham Road and East 27th Street was officially rededicated today. Improvements make the park even more accessible to children with disabilities. There’s new play equipment, sidewalks, a ramp to provide access to the ship, and a new safety surface. The sea creature and welcome figurines are all spruced up and ready to welcome a new generation of kids.

Despite wind and rain, parks officials, including Board of Parks commissioners Allen Dillingham, President Jean Paul Chaurand, former commissioner Sheila Kemper Deitrich and Parks Department Director Mark McHenry cut the ribbon to officially rededicate the park.

At a rededication ceremony, the President of the Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners, Jean Paul Chaurand, said he was personally glad the park has reopened because his kids love to go there.

He said the park was originally acquired in 1901 and called Hawthorne Park. It was a popular site for baseball games and has always been used as a neighborhood play area. Thirteen years ago, it was renamed Sheila Kemper Deitrich Park after the park commissioner who fought to make it one of the first ADA-compliant parks in Kansas City. Deitrich says she knows the park means a lot to the community.

“When the construction was going on, I got many, many Facebook comments from people,” she said.

Allen Norman, a resident of the nearby Longfellow Neighborhood, said he hopes local residents will adopt garden areas in the park and grow vegetables and flowers. “I’m hearing lots of comments about the park improvements. My sense is there’s been an increase in the number of people who are using it.”


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