© 2021 Kansas City Public Radio
NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Arts & Life

Patrick Mahomes Unveils Kansas City's New Inclusive Playground: 'This Is Y'alls Park'

Keiron Jackson, 8, pushes his sister, Rihanna Anderson, 4, on a spinning toy that is also wheelchair accessible at 15 and Mahomies Playground on Saturday which officially opened to the public.
Carlos Moreno
KCUR 89.3
Keiron Jackson, 8, pushes his sister, Rihanna Anderson, 4, on a spinning toy that is also wheelchair accessible at 15 and Mahomies Playground on Saturday which officially opened to the public.

Kansas City Chiefs' star quarterback welcomed the community to Martin Luther King, Jr. Park on Saturday, where the $1 million renovation features a playground designed to be accessible to kids of all physical and mental abilities.

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes opened up the city’s newest park Saturday afternoon with a scissor slice to a ribbon, surrounded by a sea of red-clad youth from across the metro.

Mahomes provided the glamor at the 15 and the Mahomies Playground at Martin Luther King, Jr. Park on the hot, sunny afternoon. But the real star of the day was the brand-new inclusive playground.

“This is y'all's park,” Mahomes told the gathered crowd. “Hopefully this is just the beginning for Kansas City's future and the future of the kids in Kansas City.”

Carlos Moreno
Patrick Mahomes cuts the ribbon accompanied by children who were given T-shirts for the ceremony Saturday to open the 15 and Mahomies Playground at MLK, Jr. Park.

The playground at MLK Boulevard and Woodland Avenue — resulting from a $1 million renovation — is designed so that children of all physical and mental abilities can play, featuring sensory and physical components on top of an all-weather surface.

“I like it because it has all the fun stuff,” says 11-year-old Maliah Williams from Raytown.

MLK Park-230-2.jpg
Carlos Moreno
Children climb on the large climbing web at the 15 and Mahomies Playground which officially opened Saturday at MLK, Jr. Park.

Williams pushed another group of kids sitting on a large saucer swing. “It has a cool slide, it has ropes over there, it has another slide for the little kids, and then it has this thing. That’s my favorite thing.”

The playground's centerpiece is a bright yellow climbing web leading to a tower with a gray tube slide branching out. Swings of various shapes and sizes take up one side of the play area, and short climbing walls and tactile sensory equipment like a marimba are scattered under yellow shade sails.

Quotes by King, for whom the park is dedicated, surround the play area.

MLK Park-250.jpg
Carlos Moreno
George Walter, 8, plays the marimba at 15 and Mahomies Playground on Saturday where Patrick Mahomes officially opened the park located at MLK, Jr. Boulevard and Woodland Avenue.

The project was proposed and funded by Mahomes' 15 and the Mahomies Foundation, and built by local firm Gunter Construction.

Foundation executive director Marques Fitch said the dedication is especially significant because Saturday, Aug. 28 is the anniversary of King’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech.

“This park was a blank slate. We're able to make it a destination playground,” he said. “This is something that will last a lifetime.”

Carlos Moreno
Dee Norris tries out a centrifugal force playground apparatus Saturday at the newly opened 15 and Mahomies Playground in Martin Luther King, Jr. Park.

Blue Hills resident Dee Norris took a spin of his own on a tiny, gray platform, while his fiancé Kam Fitch sat watching their children enjoy a snack.

“It’s nice to see something new, something safe for kids to play on,” Norris said.

“It keeps people in this community from having to drive the way into Loose Park,” Fitch added. “We have something of our own now where our kids can play. So that gives the kids more things they can do.”

Carlos Moreno
Kansas City Parks and Recreation Commission Member Chris Goode talks Saturday in front of the large MLK sign that adorns the Martin Luther King, Jr. Park at the corner of Woodland Avenue and MLK, Jr. Boulevard.

Fitch said one of her two children has developmental delays.

“This is a place where she can play as well, as him who doesn’t have any,” Fitch said. “It’s very important because then I don’t have to go to two separate places or pick which day which kid is going to get to do something.”

KCUR serves the Kansas City region with essential news and information.
Your donation today keeps local journalism strong.