The new and improved Kids Kastle in Highland Village celebrated its soft opening on December 19 after being closed for the past year. Originally built by the community in 1994, Kids Kastle was a popular community play area for families and kids of all ages. Following a fire in the 2000s, the playground was rebuilt again as a community project. It has continued to be a gathering spot for children and families near and far, but it was clearly in need of an upgrade.
Highland Village Mayor Charlotte Wilcox has fond memories of taking her children, who are now 37 and 32 years of age, to Kids Kastle when they were young.
“We had the opportunity to do handprints in the clay stones for the project. Of course, years later, I took my granddaughters, Addie and Gracie, there to play all the time,” Mayor Cox reminisces.
In the November 2017 bond election, voters approved $600,000 to fund the rebuild of Kids Kastle, and upon approval, the city signed a contract with Play by Design, LLC. In September of 2018, Play by Design visited Highland Village elementary schools for a Design Day to gather ideas for the new playground. They gathered all the ideas, drew a schematic of the playground, and presented it to the community — all in the same day!
Kids Kastle was originally broken out into two phases. Phase 1 of the construction included installing vertical posts and other foundation elements of the playground. It was completed by city staff, consultants from Play by Design, LLC, and contract construction workers. Highland Village residents wanted to complete the project as a community build, which was included in Phase 2. In fact, over a thousand Highland Village residents volunteered to participate, with a goal of getting a total of 2,300 volunteers. However, due to COVID-19, the city had to change course for everyone’s safety.
“I loved the old Kids Kastle. It was unique and special because the community had the vision and made that happen, but I really love the new Kids Kastle! I love the turf throughout the park that allows it to be all-inclusive,” Mayor Wilcox states.
The new Kids Kastle consists of a play area for 2 to 5-year-olds and another play area for 5 to 12-year-olds. The synthetic turf that lines the playground is infused with Microban antimicrobial protection, which helps prevent bacteria and mold growth. It also prevents stains and deterioration. Furthermore, the playground equipment is made with new, recycled plastic materials that will increase safety and reduced maintenance.
The all-inclusive playground includes a merry-go-round, a Woodland Fort Climber, a 24-foot-long caterpillar, a 6-foot climbing rock, a teeter-totter, and so much more! Additionally, the most-requested feature on the playground is the new 85-foot zipline.
“Of course, the zipline is a favorite of mine and obviously the kids,” Mayor Wilcox says.
There are covered benches throughout the playground for families to gather and watch the children play. Adjacent to the playground is a 16×16 foot pavilion with plenty of benches and seating areas.
“The parents I talked with on opening day love the openness so they can see their children. They appreciate the covered benches and all the different opportunities the children have to play,” Mayor Wilcox remarked.
Kids Kastle will have a grand opening event in 2021. However, families and kids of all ages have already begun to enjoy the royal amenities!