Thanks to funds from the state level and an increased emphasis on sustainability, Ottawa’s parks are featuring more and more amenities made from recycled tire waste.


"We were thrilled to once again partner with the state for the improvement of our parks and amenities," said Michael Haeffele, Ottawa Public Works director. "This has been a learning process for us on the (Poured in Place) surfacing, and we simply could not have done this without the State of Kanas and local partners."


The State of Kansas, Health & Environment Department notified city staff in late spring that Ottawa had been selected to receive $23,543, officials said. Matching funds of the same amount were supplied from the Legacy Square Project, most notably from Goppert Foundation, plus the City of Ottawa Parks in-kind labor and equipment.


These combined efforts led to a Poured In Place (PIP) rubber surface on Ottawa’s Legacy Square playground, located at First and Walnut Streets. This is not the first Waste Tire Grant the City has received, but it is the first for PIP surfacing, city officials said.


These grants are awarded to partially fund the purchase of products made from waste tires. Almost 3 million tires are generated as waste annually in Kansas, according to city statistics. This program is intended to stimulate the market for recycled rubber products rather than landfilling or illegal management practices. This is the fourth time the City has partnered with KDHE to enhance city parks.


The playground equipment funds were provided from a Blue Cross/Blue Shield Pathways via Franklin County Health Department. Working together, these partners constructed this new playground in a "play desert", meeting goals established by the City Play Task Force in the Parks Plan.


"I was really looking forward to seeing this material applied firsthand and how well it wears over time. We hope to use again to improve our safety and accessibility," parks superintendent D.J. Welsh said.


Welsh said the city efforts for use of tires in play features or recycling support efforts to support sustainability.


More information about the Waste Tire Program can be found at www://kdheks.gov/waste/about_wastetires.html.