You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.

X

Welcome to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

$300,000 inclusive playground planned

Springfield project will help Rotary celebrate its 100th anniversary.


The Springfield Rotary Club will celebrate its centennial by helping to build the first playground in Clark County designed to be shared by children with and without disabilities.

The $300,000 project will replace the current playground just across the bridge west of Bechtle Avenue in Snyder Park and is slated to be installed in a community-build event sometime in September of 2014.

“It’s for all children, because we want the opportunity for all children to play together,” said Mel Marsh, who announced the project at the club’s Monday meeting in the Hollenbeck-Bayley Creative Arts Center.

The Rotary reports that “nearly 1,700 of the 42,000 children living in Clark and Champaign counties have disabilities that prevent them from participating at a playground that creatively addresses the developmental needs of the whole child.”

Founded in 1914, the club has a long tradition of helping children with disabilities. In addition to the well-known annual holiday celebration, the club supports an ongoing program to help children with disabilities and their families.

Rotary President Charlie Patterson said the project “fits right into our mission here, service above self.”

“I don’t know if I can put into words how excited I am about this,” said Leann Castillo, executive director of the National Trail Parks and Recreation District, which has charge of Snyder Park. “We would not be able to do something like this.”

“It’s not only going to be exciting for the Rotary Club,” she added, “but everyone in the community.”

The Rotary is counting on the excitement to help pay for the project.

Andy Bell, a Rotarian heading the fundraising, announced the project is being seeded with $50,000 from the Rotary Foundation and challenged club members to raise an additional $100,000.

“Raise your hands if you don’t think this is a worthwhile project,” Bell said to Rotarians Monday.

“I’d really like to get this fundraising campaign done in the next month or so,” then be able to ask the community to help finish the project by demonstrating “we have 100 percent participation,” Bell said.

With that and the merits of the project, he said, he’ll be happy to reach out into the community for the remaining $150,000. An endowment will ensure the playground is properly maintained.

The project will culminate in the recruitment and training of Rotarians and other community members to build the playground.

Bob Grieweof David Williams and Associates, the contractor for the work, said in the 100 or so community builds he’s participated in since his company formed in 1987, the result has been the same: “It literally changes the culture of the area.”

“When you involve the community in the construction phase, the community takes ownership,” he said. “It’s so exciting.”

He underscored another aspect of accessibility he learned at Fort Campbell, Ky., when an injured soldier told him the playground there would make it possible for him to play with his children.

“It’s not just the child getting access. It’s grandpa, grandma, mom, dad,” Griewe said. “There will be a lot of satisfied people in this community.

“To my knowledge, the only universally accessible playgrounds even close to here are in Dayton and Columbus.”

Jared Taylor, one of two local teachers of developmentally disabled students on the project committee, said the playground will be a great resources for his students, particularly those with sensory deprivation issues.

The bright colors, a music station, equipment with a greater measure of safety — all are important, he said.

Taylor also said one piece of equipment that will allow a single child to spin by themselves in a part of the playground will be important for children who want to feel included, but at a comfortable distance.

“I’m so happy Springfield’s going to have this,” he said. “I can’t wait to take my kids on their first field trip there.”

Marsh said one of the key elements of the playground is the surface area, which will be made of a poured plastic.

When ground is covered by gravel or mulch, “you can’t put a wheelchair on it,” she said, and walking can be difficult, too.

She said the poured plastic has two pluses: “You can walk on it, and if you fall down, it’s soft.”

Plans are also being made to have a garden near the playground to provide a variety of fragrances and textures for children to experience and to draw butterflies and birds.

“We want families to have a great time together in this garden,” she said.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Community News

VIDEO: Toddler reenacts 'The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air' intro
VIDEO: Toddler reenacts 'The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air' intro

Two-year-old Princeton Wright might not have been around when “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” was airing new episodes, but that didn’t stop the toddler from gleaning some inspiration from the show for his recent birthday party.  His mother, Hinesville, Georgia, photographer Neshaszda Wright of Neshaszda Z Photography, ...
Zuckerberg visit a surprise to Dayton roundtable participants
Zuckerberg visit a surprise to Dayton roundtable participants

One of the most influential men in the world was in Dayton this weekend to talk to local people about opioid addiction, an issue devastating many area families. Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who is touring the Midwest, stopped in Dayton on Saturday, for a community roundtable hosted by CareSource. Lori Erion, founding director of FOA...
These detours will help you navigate around SB I-75 closure in Dayton
These detours will help you navigate around SB I-75 closure in Dayton

Southbound Interstate 75 in Dayton will remain closed for at least the next couple days following a fiery and deadly wrong-way crash Sunday evening. Motorists headed south should exit onto I-70 East and proceed to I-675 South toward Cincinnati to get back onto I-75 in Miami Twp. Ohio Department of Transportation officials on Sunday night said...
Billy Ray Cyrus changes name, releases new version of ‘Achy Breaky Heart’
Billy Ray Cyrus changes name, releases new version of ‘Achy Breaky Heart’

Country singer and songwriter Billy Ray Cyrus is celebrating the 25th anniversary of his hit “Achy Breaky Heart” with three new versions of the song. Rolling Stone reported that Cyrus has recorded “Achy Breaky Heart 25th,” a version closer to the original demo. It was released Friday. The song will also reportedly get a...
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg surprises Ohio family, drops in for dinner
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg surprises Ohio family, drops in for dinner

Guess who’s coming to dinner? Mark Zuckerberg! In their wildest dreams, an Ohio family couldn’t imagine hosting dinner for one of the wealthiest people in the world, and talking about politics and an African charity they support with the Facebook founder and CEO, but that’s exactly what happened. Members of the Moore family...
More Stories