ANDERSON COUNTY, SC (WSPA)-A construction project will soon start at Kid Venture Park, in the Anderson Sports and Entertainment Center.
Since 1999, Kid Venture Park has been the playground made of wood, and has attracted many people. Now, the joint project will transform into Kid Venture 2.0.
“What we’re standing on in front of, is the original Kid Venture which was a community-built playground in 1999, and as you can probably see in the background it’s made of wood, and wood, splinters breaks, rots. So starting in 2015, we began talking about replacing Kid Venture with Kid Venture 2.0. And around the same time, the City of Anderson was also starting to explore the need for an all-inclusive playground. So, this is an unique project in that Kid Venture 2.0 will be a joint project between Anderson County and the City of Anderson,” said Glenn Brill, Director of Anderson County Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Division.
One Alabama family visits the park every time they come to the Upstate.
“Each time that we visit Anderson, we have come to this park and we’ve enjoyed it, but we can see it does have a little bit of a need for some fixing up a little bit. It can be improved maybe just a little bit. Maybe a little more safe,” said Jana Walls, a mother. “I noticed the ground is really uneven and its got the old kind of mulch, which is easier for tripping and injuries and those kinds of things. Then I did notice today, that the castle is actually made of real wood, and so I did notice that it’s kind of splintering and that can definitely be dangerous for little ones, causing splinters and other injuries for them.”
Brill said the park will no longer have wood equipment. The park will also be designed in the form of flower petals.
“Basically the design of Kid Venture is based on the petals of a flower and there are seven petals in the fully completed playground. Each one will be a different color. It will have a different color rubberized fall zone, so we won’t have to be spreading 70,000 pounds of wood chips every year,” Brill said. “Kid Venture 2.0 will not have wood chips. It will have a pour and place rubberized fall zone.”
Brill said construction for phase one will begin this fall.
“Our budget for the first phase is about a million dollars. The first phase will include a four stall CXT concrete bathroom, a picnic shelter and two of the seven petals of play equipment. And each petal will have play equipment aimed at a different age group. The two petals we’re going to build this fiscal year, will be play equipment aimed at toddlers, people from like two to five years old,” Brill said.
The entire park will be fenced and ADA compliant for all ages and abilities.
“So, children of all ages and abilities, will be able to play next to each other which they unfortunately can’t do in our current playground because we’re not ADA compliant,” Brill said.
The park will be bigger in size, according to officials.
“The current playground is around an acre, the new Kid Venture 2.0 will be about an acre and a half,” Brill said. “I’m just so excited because we’ve been talking about this for six years and finally we’re going to start building something.”
Brill said overall, there may be two to three more phases, following phase one. He said the additional phases will be spread out over two to three years.
“It will be probably around a $2 million project when we’re done with it,” Brill said.
Officials said some things like a few swing sets and an elephant slide will stay, and will be incorporated into the new design.
“An iconic feature of the current Kid Venture that we’re going to incorporate into Kid Venture 2.0, are the handprints of the children. We need to save these because the children who have these hand prints are now adults and their children are playing at Kid Venture,” Brill said.
County leaders also said they could see more people coming to the park when it is complete.
“We could conceivably see families from 90 miles away coming to this Kid Venture when it’s fully completed,” Brill said. “It will be good. We get about 800,000 visitors a year at the Anderson Sports and Entertainment Center, Kid Venture is certainly one of our big drivers of traffic and I certainly think our visitation numbers will go up when we have this beautiful new Kid Venture 2.0– first phase opening in the spring.”
Walls said her family will return in the future.
“We’re excited. We probably will be back to Anderson visiting with my husband’s job and we’re looking forward to seeing the improvements that they make to the park because like I said it is a favorite, and we’ll be back,” Walls said.
Brill said $40,000 has already been raised for equipment by two organizations.
“We have $40,000 raised for play equipment by the Anderson Rotary Club, and Friends of the Park Kid Venture 2.0,” Brill said. “So, about a half of the cost of the playground equipment in our first petal for toddlers we already have in the bank, thanks to those two organizations that have been raising money since about 2017.”
He said the rest of the money will come from the county and city budgets for future phases.
Brill said he hopes more businesses will step up and sponsor other petals. Brill also said phase one will be complete by May 2022. The park will remain partially open during construction.