Proceeds from the fifth annual St. Patrick's Day Parade this March will go toward the Ryan Gray Playground for All Children for the second year in a row, organizers announced during a press conference at city hall this morning.
Last year's parade and affiliated events generated $12,000 for the playground effort, said Chris Mulvenon, parade committee spokesman. Three other organizations had hoped to be the recipient of the proceeds, but committee members felt the need to further contribute to the playground fund in hopes that construction could get started as soon as possible, Mulvenon said.
The playground will be built at Hillcrest Elementary School and will feature equipment and a design to facilitate safe and accessible play for all children, including those with disabilities.
The project was developed in memory of Ryan Gray, who was born with a brain tumor and died in September 1990 following neurosurgery. Because of his devotion to the Kansas University Jayhawks, the 1988 national champion basketball team named him their unofficial mascot.
Jody Anderson, a representative of the playground organization, said the group has secured about $122,000 in services and money. "We need close to $300,000 for this project," she said.
Organizers hope to start construction by late May or early June and have the playground completed in time for the 1992-93 school year, she said.
Jay Gordon, of Landplan Engineering, the firm hired to design the playground, showed slides of the playground plans, and said the design was entered in the Kansas City, Mo., Playground Competition. He said results should be available by mid-February.
Now that the parade committee has selected a recipient, Mulvenon said the members soon will begin working on other priorities for the parade and special events, such as finalizing a parade theme, distributing entry forms for the Shamrock Shuffle 5k run, and selecting a parade queen and grand marshals.