Kingsport Carousel expanding with new outdoor playground

Matthew Lane • Updated Feb 26, 2018 at 2:33 PM

KINGSPORT — The Kingsport Carousel recently celebrated its 200,000th rider. Later this summer, the downtown attraction will also celebrate its third birthday. But that’s not all the carousel will be celebrating this year.

As promised during the planning stages of the carousel, Kingsport intends to create a playground in the vacant, fenced-in greenspace adjacent to the roundhouse. Currently, the space is described as a passive park — just some flat greenspace with a few benches and picnic tables.

Later this year, however, the greenspace is going to be transformed into a unique playground that will be accessible for kids regardless of their abilities, much like the boundless playground at Warriors Path State Park.

Playground features

- Web crawler

- Inclusive spinner

- Crawl tunnel

- Stepping pods

- Tree house structure with slide, bridge and climber

- Music area with congas, chimes and vibes

Bonnie Macdonald, cultural arts director for the city, said the new playground will be ADA accessible and include poured-in-place surfacing with berms. Other features — if funding is available — will include a concrete plaza, covered picnic area, an irrigation system and a water bottle filling station.

Kingsport sent the project out to bid and is scheduled to receive those bids March 6. The city is estimating the playground equipment to cost around $300,000. Macdonald said the project would start sometime this spring and wrap up by late August or early September. The carousel’s third birthday is July 10.

“We already have lots of people coming to the carousel, and this will just extend our appeal,” Macdonald said. “We can see it being a destination for picnics and all kinds of groups coming and playing, just having a great time.”