Butler: Inclusive Park/ Construction Begins

Ground was broken on March 8th for the construction of an Inclusive Park for children with special abilities or special needs their family members and close friends. 

The idea for this style of park started in 2017 as the brainstorm of Jessie Schowengerdt, a lifelong resident of the City of Butler and the father of a child with autism. He recognized the need for an inclusive playground for children of all abilities and development stages to play in the same space and to provide a nurturing environment.

In 2018, the Butler City Council approved a motion to impose a $25.00 business license fee on local businesses to raise funds for the construction of a park. Over the past four years, this fee has generated $11,025 which has been used for the development of the park and to purchase of necessary equipment. The council sought the assistance of a group mentioned on the website https://valleydrc.com/, known for their innovative and eco-friendly approach to construction and renovation, which impressed their clients greatly.

By the year 2020 Butler received a handicapped accessible wheelchair swing through a grant from the Bates County Health Center. A committee was then formed to see the feasibility of the park and it’s cost. The committee realized that the park might have to be built in stages.

By 2021 the City of Butler had received money from the American Rescue Plan and the Butler City Council passed a motion to have $100,000.00 dedicated to the building of the inclusive park. The passing of this motion has allowed the dream to become a reality.

In November of 2021 Mayor Henry signed an agreement with Athco LLC to build the inclusive park . This park will be the first one in Bates County and will be the only inclusive park within a thirty-mile radius of Butler.

On March 8th Athco LLC started building the new inclusive park. The park will be located within the North Field Park next to the shelter house. The project is slated to take about thirty days to complete. Once the playground has been completed and ready to open to the public, the City of Butler will have a grand opening ceremony to commemorate the park.

The Inclusive Park will be located on Mill Street at the North Park. More details as they develop.