By Christina Jani
Russell – The Christmas Galleria is seeking to raise funds for a new accessible theme park in Russell.
The community has already raised about $40,000 for the million-dollar project, which will replace the end-of-life equipment at Memorial Park next to the fairgrounds. With fences and accessories, the project will need approximately $1.5 million.
Arc of the Central Plains, which has also provided support for a similar project in Hays, is guiding the Russell group, said Cathy McAdoo, Arc executive director and Russell resident.
McAdoo said she hopes community members will take the time to research the project. Accessible and surfaced equipment is more expensive than standard playground equipment.
Although the mulch is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, most people who use walkers and wheelchairs cannot navigate through it, which means that gardens that use mulch as a ground cover are not accessible.
McAdoo said Russell Park will have similar equipment and the appearance of the ARC Park at Hayes with different colors and themes. The Russell Group works with the same companies as Hays.
New equipment will include accessible swings, a zipline, a carousel, play structures with ladders, sensory equipment, musical equipment and a quiet place for overstimulated children.
McAdoo said that Russell residents had been watching the development of ARC Park in Hays and decided when it came time to replace the equipment at Memorial Park, they wanted to replace it with more accessible equipment.
“Not only kids and adults would be happy to have it,” she said, “but also people in the nearby communities around Russell. They also get a fair amount of I-70 traffic and a number of ball leagues that come through Russell. It’s kind of a natural thing.” What “.
Accessible parks allow all children to play together — something they may not be able to do at school, McAdoo said.
“Here they all play, there are no barriers and they can just be themselves,” she said.
McAdoo said the volunteers hope to complete the project within two years.
McAdoo said the project is still in its infancy. However, all funds raised in Russell will remain in Russell.
The Christmas Galleria in Russell is an attempt to replicate the Festival of Trees in Hays that raised money for the Hays ARC park.
The Galleria offers 45 items, including faux Christmas trees, wreaths, holiday table displays, and outdoor decor. Almost all of the ornamental materials were donated and the same volunteers who made the pieces for the Hayes Festival of Trees created pieces for the Russell Galleria Gallery.
“This is a unique fundraiser for Russell,” McAdoo said. “This is the first time anything like this has been done. We hope to add something to the Russell’s holiday season – another fun activity, another way to connect with the community and get people to see what others have created.”
“Russell is a very giving community.”
The online auction is live now and will run until 5pm on Monday. The link to the auction will be on the home page of the Russell Play Park website at www.russellplaypark.com. Donors can also donate directly at any time by visiting this website.
Auction items can be viewed during normal business hours from noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday at the Deines Cultural Center in downtown Russell.
You can also follow the park project on Facebook.