By Rick Palsgrove
Staying active is important no matter of one’s age or abilities and a community plan to enhance such opportunities remains in the works.
With that in mind, the Kiwanis Club of Groveport Madison, presented an idea to Groveport City Council in the fall of 2020 for an all ages/all abilities park feature to be built in the city. City elected and administrative officials liked the idea and began to plan to make it happen.
“Our committee is supposed to get together sometime within the next month or so,” said Groveport Development Director Jeff Green. “The Kiwanis are still involved, but we have not had a chance to get together too look at the proposed plan.”
The concept for the park feature is multi-generational, meaning there will be accessible play features for younger kids with limited mobility, as well as exercise and activity features for older adults. The idea is to add the all ages/abilities park and its features to the city’s Degenhart Park, which is located at the south ends of Lesleh Avenue and Madison Street.
Christine Boucher of the Kiwanis Club of Groveport Madison said the approximate size of the proposed park is 8,000 square feet and back in 2020 the club had hoped it could be in place by the spring of 2022.
However, progress toward creating the park feature has slowed due to pandemic concerns and budgetary work.
“It is still on the table for Kiwanis of Groveport Madison in collaboration with the city of Groveport,” said Boucher. “Our club is very anxious to get it moving forward.”
She said city officials and the Kiwanis of Groveport Madison are still involved and committed to the project.
“We presented the idea to the city out of a desire to have an all inclusive park for youth of all ages and abilities, but we also wanted to make sure it is multi-generational for our elderly neighbors who can benefit from being outdoors, getting exercise of mind and body while having a place to meet with friends at the park and share their stories. The city of Groveport has retained the engineer (EMH&T) and provided the space they currently own for the park to exist. At the end of third quarter last year, EMH&T presented some drawings to us and the city to get our input. They gathered our input and took them back to work on more detailed concept drawings.”
Boucher said the construction and completion dates for the all ages/all abilities park feature are still to be determined.
“We have to initiate our capital fundraising campaign first, but all things considered we would like to see it begin in late summer/early fall,” said Boucher. “The cost is not yet known. The cost will be based on how EMH&T determines the phases of the park based on our feedback from the drawings they presented to us early on. Funding is expected from community donations via our capital fundraising campaign and available grants.”
When asked what exercise and other features have been determined to be placed in the park, Boucher said this is still being discussed.
“We are looking at equipment and ground cover that permits wheelchairs, walker, and other assistance devices that don’t hinder someone’s ability to use the equipment,” said Boucher.
According to Boucher, the current plan is to construct the all ages/all abilities park feature on city land southeast of the existing Degenhart Park and along the neighborhoods of Newport Village and Lambert Avenue, with connection by sidewalk from Greenfield Place.
She said this project is important to the community for several reasons.
“We have many beautiful park spaces in the city of Groveport, but none are accessible for anyone with limitations,” said Boucher. “We have many students in our district who are able body compromised who don’t get to enjoy the park features that their able-bodied family or friends can enjoy. We have an aging population around us, whether in their own home or a facility, who can benefit from the enjoyment of a park and a place to meet and socialize. Studies show that elderly can benefit greatly physically and mentally from a park with the right equipment and surroundings.”
Boucher noted, as of now, there are only six all ages/abilities accessible playgrounds in central Ohio with the closest to Groveport being the newest park in Lancaster.
For information about the Kiwanis Club of Groveport Madison, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Christine Boucher at 614-563-9540. You do not need to live in Groveport Madison to be a member, so business and corporate staff or employees are welcome.