The new Kids Kingdom will be named after a special kid.
The existing playground off Waterworks Road sits in the way of a major sewer project, so officials – including Evansville Police Chief Billy Bolin -- broke ground on a new playground to be built in the space between the Evansville Museum and the Sunset Park tennis courts.
"The original Kids Kingdom is 12,000 square feet. This is going to be 20,000 square feet. It's gong to be substantially taller than the original Kid's Kingdom. It's going to have instead of wood, the plastic track type components on it so it's more durable. It's going to have larger slides."
Bolin said the new $1.8 million “kingdom” will be named after the daughter of Police Sgt. Patrick Phernetton. The girl suffers from Prader-Willi Syndrome.
"It's not going to be called Kids Kingdom anymore. The new playground is going to be Mickey's Kingdom."
Bolin said the group 911 Gives Hope had raised money for a home for kids with the genetic disorder, but when the plan ran into obstacles the group decided to redirect $320,000 to the playground project.
"As somebody that was involved early and that knows Mickey personally, and I consider her family like family to me, it's really touching, it's really neat, and this was an awesome day to say we're doing this."
Mayor Lloyd Winnecke called the groundbreaking the start of a great project.
"We're breaking ground today on the restroom and some other foundational elements but you'll see a community build that will come together in September, about a ten-day build, and we'll open the park shortly thereafter."
A news release from the city of Evansville states the playground will feature a pirate ship and interactive play stations that are all inclusive so children of all abilities can play together in a fun and safe environment.
The construction will cost about $1 million, which does not include labor and in-kind donation that will bring the value to more than $1.8 million.
The community build is planned September 14-23.
For more information on getting involved, call the Evansville Department of Parks and Recreation at 812-435-6141.