Kiwanis Club seeks to create an all ages/all abilities feature in park

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By Rick Palsgrove
Groveport Editor

People like to get out, be active, and have fun no matter their age.

With this in mind, the Kiwanis Club of Groveport Madison, presented an idea to Groveport City Council on Oct 26 for an all ages/all abilities park feature to be built in the city. City officials liked the idea.

“We’re going to put together a committee made up of city representatives and Kiwanis members to put together a full plan,” said Groveport Assistant City Administrator Jeff Green. “The concept for the park is for it to be ‘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.”

Green said the planning and fundraising (done by the Kiwanis Club) and construction “will probably make this about an 18 to 24 month project.”

Plans are 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 the club hopes it can be in place by the spring of 2022.

“The city of Groveport has space by Degenhart Park that is about the size that we are looking for,” said Boucher. “This is a collaboration project with the city of Groveport for space and the Kiwanis Club of Groveport Madison fundraising to buy the equipment.”

Boucher said Kiwanis Club members want to create an all abilities park that includes equipment that will be accessible for anyone with physical limitations in wheelchairs, walkers, and braces.

“There are also plans for equipment that the older generation can use to boost activity and memory while decreasing loneliness,” said Boucher. “We also would like to include a musical and flower garden which could benefit everyone, but also those with autism and ADHD.”

“This sounds like a very good idea,” said Groveport City Councilwoman Becky Hutson. “It could be used by many people with all kinds disabilities and it is low impact.”

Boucher said that, while the city already has great park spaces and equipment, these spaces are limited for those who are able bodied.

“We want to plan a park that is all inclusive,” said Boucher. “The secondary goal is to focus on all five senses of sight, smell, sound, touch and hearing.”

She said the estimated cost of the park is currently undetermined until the Kiwanis Club can sit down with a park planning committee to capture ideas, goals, costs, and phases.

“The funding will primarly be through available grants and fundraising within the community,” said Boucher. “Currently, there are only six all accessible playgrounds in central Ohio with the closest to Groveport being the newest park in Lancaster. With the increasing number of baby boomers retiring or already retired, keeping them active is essential to their physical and mental well-being, so there are a considerable amount of grants available for a park of this nature. Likewise, a percentage of the Groveport Madison school district population has a classified disability.”

According to Boucher, city officials are interested and willing to collaborate with the Kiwanis Club of Groveport Madison on this project.

“The city has the land and park staff who can provide insight to Kiwanis of Groveport Madison on the park equipment and phases,” said Boucher. “Mayor Lance Westcamp and Groveport City Council members all were approving of the idea for the park (when it was presented to them at the Oct. 26 council meeting). More information is needed before it is a done deal, but it was encouraging to have their support and understanding about the need.”

For information about the Kiwanis Club of Groveport Madison, email gmkiwanis@gmail.com 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.

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