The Springfield Rotary Club will hold a one-day build Saturday to install a first-of-its-kind, inclusive $300,000 playground for children in Clark County.
The playground will replace the current one across the bridge west of North Bechtle Avenue in Snyder Park, said Mel Marsh, the Rotary community chair. The park will be accessible to children with and without disabilities.
“I’m so excited about the fact that we’re going to transform how kids with disabilities play in our community,” Marsh said. “It’s going to be mind-boggling what they’re going to be able to do.”
The club raised approximately $484,000 for the project, which includes installing new sidewalks and a nearby garden. The money also includes an endowment to make sure the playground is maintained in the future.
“We wanted to make this as accessible as possible,” Marsh said. “Everybody is going to be able to go everywhere.”
The current playground gets plenty of usage on normal days, said Leann Castillo, the executive director of National Trail Parks and Recreation District, which manages Snyder Park for the city.
“I just don’t think people realize the impact this is going to have on our community,” Castillo said. “There’s nothing like it here in Clark County.”
Fund-raising began last year as part of Rotary’s centennial celebration. The club took trips to look at other inclusive playgrounds in Cincinnati.
The club has approximately 85 volunteers for the one-day build and won’t need any more. The rain date is May 31.
“We have as many volunteers as we can handle,” Marsh said.
The park is expected to open in mid-June after a cushioned rubber surface is installed. It will allow for people with limited mobility to move around the playground.
“Most of the playgrounds in Clark County have mulch,” Marsh said.
During site excavation, workers discovered the foundation of an old playground. They also cut an underground electric line, even after getting the all-clear in the area from Ohio Edison, Marsh said. All of those issues have been resolved.
“It has been a park for so long that there are things there that many people don’t have records of,” Marsh said.
Castillo expects the new playground to get even more usage as it is approximately three times larger and open to children of all abilities.
“We can’t wait to see what happens and offer that to our community,” Castillo said. “We’re very fortunate that the Rotary is giving this gift to the community.”