We're breaking ground and celebrating! Please join us at 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 9, at Seven Hills Park (33rd and Hillcrest) in Hays for the groundbreaking of the new ARC Park playground.


A large crowd is expected. Masks and social distancing will be encouraged.


The Hays Accessible Recreation Complex (ARC Park) will provide safe, boundless play opportunities for individuals of all ages and all abilities in one accessible spot. There is not currently a fully accessible play space of this scope and size anywhere in Western Kansas. Construction will begin on phase 1 — a 15,500-square-foot playground. The $750,000-project has been in development for two years by The Arc of Central Plains and was funded entirely from private donations within the community. Outdoor play stimulates speech, cognition, gross motor skills, fine motor skills and social skills more efficiently than any other method of instruction. The play space also will promote self-empowerment and imaginative play for all kids, while allowing children with disabilities to play safely alongside peers.


Construction of the playground is slated to finish in April 2021. Dirt work, playground equipment, and concrete work will be installed before end of the year; however, the synthetic flooring is weather-contingent and can't be installed until the spring.


The ARC Park complex will eventually include phases 2 and 3 -- an accessible recirculated splash pad and an all-ability turf baseball field, respectively. Fundraising continues for those features. To learn more about the project, visit www.HaysARCPark.org.


"We are so excited to start construction on the playground and to bring this to our wonderful community! Thank you to everyone who has donated and supported the ARC Park," said Kathy McAdoo, executive director of The Arc of Central Plains.


For more than 50 years, The Arc of Central Plains has been committed to bringing enrichment and purpose to the lives of all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities through participation in activities, education, and lifelong inclusion.


For more information, call Sarah Meitner at 785-639-2629 or Kathy McAdoo at 785-628-8831.