AUGUSTA — With children’s laughter in the background, friends, family, city officials and residents gathered on an October evening in 2018 to dedicate Augusta’s newest park in the memory of a special young man, Dalton Palmer.

Dalton, was just 13 when he died from injuries sustained in an ATV accident in November 2014. The young man was active in school and sports and well-liked by his classmates and teammates.

Since 2003, the Augusta City Council was looking for ways to improve the economy downtown, and in the past 15 years, it has been a goal of members of the Augusta City Council and residents to see a downtown playground for local children.

Things came together when an old downtown business and lumber yard properties adjacent to the newly revived Frisco Plaza, were purchased by Troy Palmer, local businessman and father of Dalton.

The lot was split and Palmer donated the lot to be used for a new and innovative playground in memory of Dalton.

As part of the Pride & Progress initiative, the City Council approved approximately $300,000 for the construction of the “extreme’ playground.

The Dalton Palmer Memorial Downtown Park is the tallest playground in Kansas and one of three in the nation, according to manufacturer Miracle Recreation Equipment. The unique extreme generation (XGEN) playground features:

• A nearly 30-foot tower with a 16-foot deck and 30-foot slide.

• Two towers reaching more than 26- and 24-feet high, each with 12-foot decks and tunnel slides.

• Three 20-foot, fully enclosed skyways connecting at 12-feet high; each featuring a challenging activity to help develop children's overall strength, coordination, and proprioception.

• A one-of-a-kind gravity rail that swings riders around a rollercoaster-like circular track.

“Creating this unique space has truly been a community effort,” Mayor Mike Rawlings said. “Next, we will add wrought-iron fencing, lighting, and bench seating. Then we want to secure donations, and possibly a grant, to replace the wood fiber surface with a rubberized soft surface.”

The city of Augusta continues to work in partnership with Troy Palmer and Augusta Progress Inc. on a potential development project for the Frisco Plaza. In addition, to new parklets, streetscape and cafe-style seating, our concept includes construction of multiple new retail/food shops and public restrooms.