Overland Park & Leawood

Water area wins raves in Roe Park redevelopment

Olivia Shivery cooled off Wednesday in the new water spray area at Roe Park in Overland Park. The new spray area replaced the park’s pool.
Olivia Shivery cooled off Wednesday in the new water spray area at Roe Park in Overland Park. The new spray area replaced the park’s pool. along@kcstar.com

Where the kids are concerned, the splash pad that spouts streams of water more than 10 feet skyward has emerged as the crown jewel of the recently completed Roe Park renovation.

“They love it,” Greg Ruether, director of park services with Overland Park, said with a laugh. “There may be up to 40 kids or more from toddlers to 12-year-olds in it at the same time. We thought it would be popular with the kids, but their enthusiasm has been a pleasant surprise.”

The uniquely constructed splash pad is 30- by 80-feet and includes cooling towers of misty spray, a water flower and a spectacular 12-foot water weave spray from 18 underground nozzles. The pad goes through sequences of sprays and turns itself off when it isn’t occupied.

The splash pad in Roe Park is the first such facility to be installed in any of the parks in the Overland Park system. “We wanted to provide a water activity for the youngsters after we decommissioned the swimming pool last year,” Ruether said. “The pad is a popular replacement.”

Another water attraction for youngsters in the new playground area is an interactive hand water pump with a 30-foot sluiceway, a challenging balance log, log steppers, a crawl hut and swings.

The $2.5 million Roe Park renovation is part of the comprehensive master plan for Overland Park’s parks. Work at the 20-acre park, 10400 Roe Ave., began last September and was completed this week.

“It’s the first redevelopment work at the park since it was founded in the 1960s,” Ruether added.

The splash pad has attracted the most attention, but adults weren’t left out of the renovation plan, which includes three new shelter houses. One is 40- by 75-feet and two smaller ones are 20- by 30-feet.

The larger shelter house has a massive beam structure with 10 concrete columns and features a 20-foot-tall chimney with a custom grill, electrical connections and interior lighting. It is designed for use by large or small groups and may be reserved for special events for a fee, Ruether said.

The two smaller shelter houses flank the playground and provide shade for the splash pad area. Included are 8-foot-long picnic tables and electrical connections. They are not available for reservations.

Other new structures include a public handicap accessible restroom, with plumbing fixtures controlled by an automatic sensor flush system, and a new parking lot that accommodates 237 vehicles, including seven handicap spaces.

There also are two new tennis courts.

“Roe Park is now home to some of the best tennis courts in the city,” Ruether said. “The new courts replaced the old ones and are located where the swimming pool was. They are available to players of all ages.”

The renovation retained the baseball and soccer fields and the bicycle trails. “From the beginning we wanted to keep the landscaping as low maintenance as possible with drought tolerant plants. We did this by using sustainable native plant material,” he said.

There is no definite closing date yet for the splash pad, but it probably will be around Labor Day. Until then, the splash pad is open from sunrise to sunset every day, a spokesman for park services said.

BBN Architects designed the redevelopment plan.

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