Making a splash: New playground debuts at Gene Howe Neighborhood Park

Making a splash: New playground debuts at Gene Howe Neighborhood Park

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - A colorful addition to NE 15th Avenue, the brand new Play Zone at Gene Howe Neighborhood Park in Amarillo is now open, in an area where the city says a new playground for the children was needed.

"How special would it be to bring something to this area so that their kids can play, they can play on the splash pad, they can play on the play equipment, we have shade and picnic tables and fun," said Pat Westbrook, Assistant Director of Amarillo Parks and Recreation. "That's what we wanted for this neighborhood."

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The playground includes a new jungle gym with slides of different sizes, games, ladders and more. There is also a new swing set with multiple swings for children of all ages.

One of the newest additions at the playground is also making a splash. The splash pad is another new addition, with perfect timing for the summer months ahead.

For the brand new director of the city's parks, the playground is perfect for a new beginning.

"It's a great feeling to be able to come in week one, have new orientation one day and the park opening the next," said Michael Kashuba, the new director of Amarillo Parks and Recreation.

As for the rest of Amarillo, a city plan could pinpoint other parks in need of updates.

"We're going to be updating our masterplan, so that's one of our next steps," said Westbrook. "We do have a lot of older parks throughout the city and so we're going to be looking at that."

In addition to the master plan, the city hopes to get citizens involved with the process, as well.

"One of the things I really want to do is really involve the community in all of our park processes as we start looking at where we can make improvements, really getting feedback from the community and make sure their parks reflect their neighborhoods, parks reflect their needs," said Kashuba.

The overall project cost just under $800,000, with $300,000 of the funding coming from a community development block grant and $475,000 from the city's capital program, which includes tax dollar funding.

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