The city has unveiled the final piece of the renovation puzzle at the Whetstone Community Center: a 3,300-square-foot playground.

The city has unveiled the final piece of the renovation puzzle at the Whetstone Community Center: a 3,300-square-foot playground.

The new playground will be placed at the northwest corner of the newly renovated recreation center on a rubber safety surface in September.

The different levels of the playground will be connected by wide ramps, and there will be a multitude of pieces on which children can climb and play, said Columbus Recreation and Parks planner Kathy Spatz.

"This is going to be a universally accessible playground," with room for wheelchairs and strollers to maneuver freely, Spatz said. "It can be used not only for social interaction but for recreation therapy, as well as for anyone who just wants to get out and exercise."

The playground equipment is aimed at increasing agility and strength, and it can be used by all ages, Spatz said.

"The older adults, the younger adults, the young-at-heart adults, the toddlers, everyone can hang out here," Spatz said.

The playground will be erected after the community center opens in September.

To help stretch city dollars, Spatz said the city along with the Whetstone Recreation Initiative, is rounding up volunteers to help build the playground on Sept. 18 and 19.

Spatz said several volunteers groups already have committed their time to helping, and similar initiative in other parts of the city have been a hit with communities.

"There are a lot of people who have offered time and effort from the beginning," Spatz said. "It will be an enjoyable time."

Capitalizing on sweat equity and in-kind donations has allowed the city to provide the new playground for round $150,000. Without volunteers, Spatz said the playground would have cost between $250,000 and $275,000, emphasizing the importance of in-kind donations in such projects.

"That's really a major part of fundraising as well," Spatz said.

Also in the plans is a brick patio with furnishings that will abut the playground, Spatz said. The Whetstone Recreation Initiative is selling bricks for that patio to raise funds for the community center.

"This is kind of the beginning; this is not the end," Spatz said of the city's plans for the playground.

Those interested in contacting Spatz to help with the playground can call (614) 645-0487 or e-mail kaspatz@columbus.gov.

For more information on the Whetstone Recreation Initiative, visit whetstonepark.org/wri.