By Christine Bryant
Kids in the Westgate neighborhood soon will have a new playground to explore, thanks to a special gift from the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation.
This September, the foundation will transform part of Westgate Park, adding a Blue Jackets-themed playground. Organizers say with the renovation of the park’s recreation center, the new addition will be the icing on the cake.
“With the recent renovation of the recreation center at Westgate Park being completed, we felt like contributing a new playground to match was a great fit for that community,” said Jen Bowden, vice president of community relations for the Blue Jackets and executive director of the foundation.
Last summer, the Blue Jackets Foundation partnered with volunteers and organizations on the eastside of Columbus to build a similar playground at Krumm Park.
This year’s site was chosen after consulting with the Columbus Parks and Recreation, Bowden said.
“A number of factors are considered, with the actual need for replacement equipment being paramount,” she said. “We also like to ensure that the equipment is being installed in parks that have a lot going on and will be well used.”
The playground project will cost about $85,000 to complete, with funds coming through the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation, Bowden said.
“The playground manufacturer, Playworld Midstates, does a wonderful job of lending guidance and expertise on the day of the build – donating their time and resources throughout the project, too,” she said.
While foundation representatives have worked with Playworld Midstates for several months, the build itself will be completed in just two days.
“On the first day, we work to prep the playground equipment and the area where the equipment will be installed,” Bowden said. “But the lion’s share of the playground will be completed on Friday, Sept. 5, with the help of over 100 volunteers.”
Those volunteers will include Blue Jackets staff, players and coaches, as well as assistance from the project’s partners, the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association, Columbus Recreation and Parks and local neighborhood volunteers.
The playground will include three separate pieces of equipment – one for younger children, one for older children and a swing set.
“They will all be uniquely hockey-themed and include hockey – and Blue Jackets-themed elements like a puck-wall climber,” Bowden said.
For more information on this project, go to bluejacketsfoundation.org.