Accessible Playground Opens at Lakeshore Park in Honor of Hank Rappé

Communications Director

Eric Vreeland
evreeland@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-3480

400 Main St., Room 654A
Knoxville, TN 37902

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News item

Accessible Playground Opens at Lakeshore Park in Honor of Hank Rappé

Posted: 09/11/2015
Hank Rappe PlaygroundThe desire to create a memorial for a young boy has led to the creation of Knoxville’s newest public playground. The Hank Rappé Playground, an inclusive space for children of all ages and abilities, opened today at Lakeshore Park, next to the Knox Youth Sports baseball fields.

It is named in memory of Hank Rappé, the son of Dr. Matt and Brandy Rappé, who passed away on April 5, 2013 -- two days before his first Knox Youth Sports tee-ball game at Lakeshore. The playground is the first major addition to the 185-acre park since the adoption of a new master plan last year. Friends of the Rappé family worked with Knox Youth Sports to raise funds to replace existing playground equipment, and the nonprofit Lakeshore Park board provided more than a million dollars to expand the playground, add additional equipment and construct an adjacent picnic/seating area and a landscaped parking lot.

“This is a wonderful addition to Lakeshore Park, and an act of great kindness by friends of the Rappé family and contributors to Lakeshore Park,” Mayor Madeline Rogero said. “Through their generosity, they have created a space that will be enjoyed by children from all over Knoxville for years to come.”

The playground equipment includes towers with ramps and slides, a sway glider, a spinner, a four-seat seesaw, swings, a climber arch, a grab bar, a Lunar Blast rope climber and a crawl tunnel. Some features are designed for children aged 2 to 5 and others for children aged 5 to 12. The equipment includes special accessibility features, such as ramps, special seats and a braille panel.

The Hank Rappé Playground was designed by Ross/Fowler Landscape Architects of Knoxville. Recreational Concepts of Cookeville provided the lay-out of the play equipment, which was manufactured by Landscape Structures, a leader in innovative Inclusive Play Systems that are accessible, developmentally age appropriate and stimulating to the senses.

The brightly colored arch at the entrance to the playground is a work of art designed and created by Knoxville metal artist Preston Farabow. The total cost of the playground, the adjacent picnic and parking areas, landscaping and other improvements was $1.35 million.

Family of Hank Rappe“One of the most overwhelming parts of this journey for us has been witnessing the tireless efforts and incredible generosity of so many friends,” said Dr. Matt and Brandy Rappé. “Our memories of Hank sustain us. It is our hope and prayer that this playground provides wonderful memory-making opportunities for countless families for years to come. Hank’s Playground will always be a place of joy and laughter where siblings play, friends meet and families connect."

“We were excited to have this opportunity to create an accessible, inclusive playground at this beautiful park”, said Dee Haslam, Lakeshore Park Chair. “We are also excited about the public’s response to our efforts to raise funds for construction of more park improvements for use and enjoyment of the people of Knoxville and visitors to our area.”

The playground is the first in a series of projects planned by the Lakeshore Park Board for the 185-acre park, all of which will be funded through contributions from the general public. The park is being improved pursuant to a master plan that was approved in 2014 after almost a year of public input. The Board is currently conducting a capital campaign with a goal of raising $25 million for first-phase improvements. Construction of additional park improvements should start later this year.

Click here to view more photos from the Hank Rappé Playground Ribbon Cutting.

Hank Rappe Playground
Photos by Traci K. McDonell / City of Knoxville