A new holiday light display will debut in Salina this weekend.
According to Salina Regional Health Center, the Salina Regional Health Foundation will debut a new holiday lighting
attraction on Saturday at dusk at Center Street Park – home of Olivia’s Playground. The event coincides with Salina Downtown’s Holiday Kickoff activities and the annual Parade of Lights, which starts at 6 p.m. on Saturday.
The park is located at the intersection of Center and Fourth streets near the Smoky Hill River Channel in central Salina.
While the lights will be visible from Center Street, the best way to view the attraction will be on foot using the quarter-mile walking/running trail that winds around the park.
Five themed displays are included around the path:
- Elf Village
- Penguin Park
- Secret Garden
- 12 Days of Christmas
- Winter Magic
Olivia’s Playground at Center Street Park opened in June 2019 as a multigenerational park where people of all ages and abilities can exercise and play together. The park features interactive games and many play structures, slides and swings for kids of all abilities. There are also exercise and fitness structures in addition to the walking/running trail.
Salinans Sid and Susy Reitz were instrumental in bringing the park to the community. They were inspired by their granddaughter Olivia Bloomfield who uses a wheel chair and enjoys playing on inclusive playgrounds near her hometown in Leawood, Kan. The Reitz’s saw the need for an inclusive playground that was centrally located in Salina and open year-round, and worked with the Salina Regional Health Foundation to make it a reality.
The Reitz’s also have helped lead efforts to bring the holiday lighting display to the playground this year. Funding for the project was supported through a significant grant from the Don C. and Florence M. McCune Foundation and a gift from the Reitz family.
“Our family has always enjoyed seeing the various Christmas displays and we felt it would be wonderful to use the park, and the walking path, and make it a winter wonderland for everyone to enjoy,” Sid Reitz said. “We have always loved Christmas and we wanted to share the magical spirit of the holidays with all ages and abilities.”
The lights at Center Street Park will be on each evening through the holidays and the Salina Regional Health Foundation plans to make decorating the park an annual event.
“The addition of holiday lights is another way for the community to enjoy the beauty of the park and we hope to be able to continue to build on it in the future,” said Marla McElderry, executive director of the Salina Regional Health Foundation.
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Photos Courtesy Salina Regional Health Center