Any given day, almost year-round, the popular children’s playground dedicated to Kayla Mueller has kids running, climbing and squealing as they scramble up and down slides and swings and climbing poles.
But from now until approximately May 10, the playground at 1200 Commerce Drive near Pioneer Park will be closed while a massive overhead cover is installed.
The playground was constructed and dedicated to honor Prescott native Kayla Mueller. Following her graduation from Northern Arizona University, she went to Syria to become a human rights activist. She was captured, tortured and killed by ISIS sometime in February 2015.
The park was constructed and dedicated to her on Aug. 27, 2016, when the late Sen. John McCain headed a group of distinguished national, federal, state and community leaders and honored her.
Funded through donations by a variety of local organizations, the cover is being installed by Bunger Steel Works, Carothers Concrete and the City of Prescott Recreation Services. APS is also participating.
Primary funding came from the Kiwanis Club of Prescott in cooperation with the City of Prescott. Other major contributors were the Harold James Family Trust, the J.S. Kieckhefer Foundation and the Margaret T. Morris Foundation.
The intent of the cover is to protect the surface of the playground from environmental deterioration and to provide overhead protection for youngsters from the external environment, said City of Prescott Director of Recreation Services Joe Baynes.
Recently, Gov. Doug Ducey asked Kayla’s parents, Karl and Marsha Mueller, to join him during his State of the State address in Prescott. While there, Ducey told the Muellers he was pushing to have a painting to commemorate their daughter placed in the Arizona State Capitol to honor someone he considered a “genuine Arizona hero.”
Photo: Kayla’s Hands Playground soon will have an overhead cover to protect the playground and the children who gather on it.