City of Wichita and Park & Recreation officials will unveil the new O.J. Watson train during the annual O.K. Kids Day event scheduled from 9:00 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday at Watson Park, 3022 S. McLean Blvd. The train was made available to media today at Watson Park during the Mayor Jeff Longwell’s regular news briefing.
O.K. Kids Day is free, for youth five to 12 years old. Youth will receive instruction regarding fishing, water safety, miniature golf, moon walk, kayaks, archery, disc golf, and the new train. Fishing poles and bait will be provided for the fishing clinics, so those interested should arrive early to register. Home Depot volunteers will be available to help youth assemble kits. A limited number of free T-shirts and hot dogs are also available. Children can participate in a prize drawing at 11:30 a.m. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at 12 p.m. in front of the train depot. Councilmember Bryan Frye, District V, will kick off the ceremony. Frye, a Board of Park Commissioner from 2007 to 2015, was instrumental in supporting the purchase of the new train.
"Through multiple listening opportunities with Wichitans, we found the train was a beloved and iconic feature in the City,” said Frye of District V. “The new train, built by Wichitans, will deliver as a favorite memory for this and future generations."
Residents weighed in on improvements in the Watson Park Master Plan, which included 11 modules of amenities, totaling between $300,000 and $500,000 of capital investment projects. Train improvements, updating mini golf, and improving pedestrian connections were ranked #1 in community surveys. Last summer, the train was taken out of commission due to 30 years’ use and repairs. City Council approved the purchase of the train for an estimated cost of $306,250 on September 15, 2015.
For more information about O.K. Kids Day, please contact Watson Park at (316) 529-9940