Winfield leaders move forward with plans to rebuild playground

By: Lily Wu - Email
By: Lily Wu - Email

Island Park Playground Timeline

  • 2003-2004: Rotary Club of Winfield created a project to build a playground at Island Park; 1,700 volunteers worked on the project and $220,000 in donations were collected
  • May 2004: First playground completed
  • October 2008: Fire destroys first playground
  • May 2009: Second playground completed
  • July 2009: Zach Buhlke, who was 17 at the time of the arson, was sentenced to two years probation and ordered to pay $6,000 in restitution; two other juveniles, who pleaded guilty, also received probation for their roles in starting the fire 
  • March 2013: Fire destroys second playground

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WICHITA, Kan.-- Nearly eight months after a fire destroyed Winfield's Island Park Playground, city leaders are moving forward with plans to rebuild it.

The city received just over $600,000 of insurance proceeds to help rebuild the playground for the second time.

"Our immediate goal was always to put it back because that's what the community wants," said Warren Porter, city manager for Winfield.

Volunteers of a task force have also been busy with the rebuilding process by gathering community input and helping create concepts for the third playground.

"The new park will be familiar to people but it'll be different," said Porter.

More fire resistant materials, like concrete and metals, are being considered for the new playground.

"It probably would be good if it was non-flammable, so it might not happen again ," said Deborah Gose, who helped build the first playground.

Designs for the new playground will be released in the next week. Porter expects the Park Board and City Commission to approve those plans in the next month.

Construction is expected to begin in the Spring of 2014 with completion by Summer of 2014.

Since the March 14th fire, investigators have determined that the playground was intentionally set on fire for the second time.

The Winfield Police Department is continuing the investigation and no arrests have been made.

If you have any crime tips about the fire, call Cowley County Crimestoppers at 620-221-7777 or the Winfield Police Department at 620-221-5555.

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