Opening delayed for inclusive pirate-themed play park in San Antonio

Mitchell’s Landing will honor 3-year-old Mitchell Chang who drowned in 2018

One San Antonio family’s heartbreaking loss of their son led them on a journey to better the community in his memory and it’s led to the development of a 42-acre park called Mitchell’s Landing.

SAN ANTONIO – The opening date for the large pirate-themed play park on the city’s North Side has been temporarily pushed back due to a permit issue.

A 42-acre park known as Mitchell’s Landing was expected to open in April but an update from the Mitchell Chang Foundation states that a contracted vendor forgot to include the playground when filing for state permits several years ago.

“Normally a playground would not need a building permit but since Classen-Steubing Ranch Park is in a recharge zone for Edwards Aquifer, run-off drainage needs to be looked at and a permit approved,” foundation officials said.

According to a Facebook post, the correct permits have now been requested.

“All of the playground equipment is manufactured and in storage for protection,” foundations officials said. “As soon as the permit is received, we can start putting the equipment in the ground.”

The idea for Mitchell’s Landing came after one San Antonio’s heartbreaking loss.

April and Marvin Chang’s 3-year-old son Mitchell drowned at the Love to Swim School in Stone Oak Parkway in February 2018.

The Chang’s said they felt a strong need to do the good Mitchell could not longer do in the world and that’s how they got the idea for the inclusive play park.

“People try to imagine losing a child, but they often don’t think about it’s more than your child, it’s everything they were going to do in the world,” April Chang previously told KSAT. “To Mitchell, life was a party. Everything was fun, he wanted to have fun with everyone! Marvin felt very strongly that building a playground would continue Mitchell’s fun in a positive way,”

The family, which also includes the Chang’s other son, Evan, decided to put their efforts into a free public playground that would also be inclusive for families who have children with disabilities.

Mitchell's Landing at Classen-Steubing Ranch Park. (Mitchell Chang Foundation)

“We took inspiration from our memories with Evan and Mitchell at Morgan’s Wonderland and wanted to give a small piece of that to the public parks system. A playground that radiates acceptance, love, compassion, and fun,” April said. “Since Mitchell viewed himself a pirate in training, GameTime came up with this incredible pirate design with little Mitchell Easter eggs hidden throughout it. Once we saw the idea of the shipwrecked pirate ship, marsh bog, and abandoned Spanish mission, we knew this was the playground for our city and Mitchell.”

Once it’s completed, the park will be located in the 20000 block of Hardy Oak Parkway within the 204-acre Classen-Steubing Ranch Park. A video rendering of the park can be viewed in the video player at the top of this article.

There will be 164 parking spots, walking trails, a pavilion, restrooms, picnic areas, baseball fields, and open-play fields, all centered around the Mitchell’s Landing playground, according to the Mitchell Chang Foundation.

Mitchell's Landing at Classen-Steubing Ranch Park. (Mitchell Chang Foundation)

The foundation’s website notes that the playground will be designed in a way that also encourages multigenerational play by providing access and ease of use for family members of all ages and ability levels, including grandparents and caregivers with disabilities.

Mitchell's Landing at Classen-Steubing Ranch Park. (Mitchell Chang Foundation)


About the Author:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.