For years, Kessler Park on Seymour’s south east side hasn’t received the attention that has gone into improving other city parks.

But people who live near or pass Kessler frequently may have noticed a big change recently.

Thanks to the proceeds from the annual downtown Seymour Cars and Guitars show, the city has purchased $25,000 in new playground equipment for the park.

A two-man crew working with manufacturer GameTime out of Indianapolis installed the equipment during a three-day period this past week. The two work for G&C Contracting, an Indianapolis playground equipment installation firm.

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Parks director Bob Tabeling said Kessler was next in line since Shields and Gaiser parks already have benefited from Cars and Guitars money.

Kessler also was chosen because of its location to a lot of apartment complexes and Margaret R. Brown Elementary School, he added. Kasting Park on the city’s southwest side was considered too.

“With the age group it was set up for, it will be utilized better there,” Tabeling said of Kessler. “That was part of the conversation.”

Kessler already has two play areas, with a swing set and slide, but that equipment dates back to 1992.

“Over the years, it’s been more about maintaining and upkeep than upgrades,” Tabeling said.

The most recent major improvement made at Kessler has been replacing the shelter roof, he added.

Although the new playground equipment, which includes slides, a tunnel and climbing features, is in place, Tabeling said the project is not complete as the city still needs to spread mulch and add timber landscaping and a sidewalk.

“We’re still working on that as weather permits, but we hope to have it all done before spring,” he said.

The equipment is designed and built with features to be accessible to children with physical and mental challenges. That was the original goal of the Cars and Guitars Committee — to equip all of Seymour’s public parks with playgrounds that all children can use.

In October, the Cars and Guitars committee presented a check for $6,000 to the parks department from its 2016 show.

This was the 12th year for the event. Since it started in the summer of 2004, more than $70,000 worth of equipment has been installed at Shields and Gaiser parks.

“This group has raised a tremendous amount of money,” Tabeling said.

Committee members include Dan and Alicia Colglazier, Gary and Carol Colglazier and Dave and Marlene White.

Each year, the Cars and Guitars car show and concert raises between $5,000 and $8,000 and that money is put in the city’s parks department account until enough money is saved to purchase the desired equipment. It typically costs $25,000 to $30,000 total.

“People are surprised by how much it costs,” Tabeling said. “But you look at the longevity and you’re getting 20 plus years of use.”

Tabeling said one of the biggest issues the parks department is facing is making all of the parks compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The department has applied for a grant from JCB to purchase and install special rubber tiles around the playgrounds. The tiling allows wheelchairs to easily access the areas and is still impact-absorbing should a child fall.

“One of the biggest problems is the transition from the sidewalk to the playgrounds,” he said. “The intent is to make all areas handicapped accessible.”

Next year’s Cars and Guitars show is set for June 24.

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January Rutherford is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. She can be reached at jrutherford@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.