Another dream has come true in Grove City.
The city held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Oct. 17 to officially open the new Dream Field playground in Windsor Park.
The playground is adjacent to the Mirolo Dream Field, the accessible ball diamond that opened in May 2016. The field hosts the city's Buddy Ball League.
"The playground is an all-inclusive playground with outdoor play features and components that are accessible to special-needs children but can be enjoyed by everyone," Parks and Recreation Director Kim Conrad said.
"Our plans were always to have a playground as a companion piece to the Dream Field," she said.
After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, as she watched youngsters gleefully test the playground's components, Conrad she was elated.
"This is why we do what we do in parks and recreation," she said.
The playground includes a group of swings, various slides and climbers, and panels that engage children in activities related to sound, colors and shapes.
"Kids always like to climb and be able to get up as high off the ground as they can, so the design includes a number of climbing walls and fixtures," Conrad said.
Ramps and platforms were installed so children using mobility devices are able to reach the elevated play components, she said.
"What makes this project so special is that it is designed to encourage play for special-needs children and kids with normal abilities so that they can play together," said Mike DiBlasi, president of the Buddy Ball League.
"All kids just want to play," he said.
DiBlasi said his favorite component is the "merry-go-round" structure in which children sit and propel themselves or have someone spin them.
"It looks like a blast," he said.
The playground features a number of sit-and-spin and climb-and-spin components, Conrad said.
"One of the comments we hear a lot from people is that there aren't enough swings in our parks," Conrad said. "I noticed the swings were in full use (at the opening event.)"
With its location adjacent to the Dream Field ball diamond, families can enjoy a full day of fun, with a Buddy Ball League game followed by a visit to the playground, DiBlasi said.
The playground's shelter house features wheelchair-accessible tables.
"The shelter house can be used by anybody, but it will help make a nice day for families to have a picnic before or after their child's Buddy Ball league game," Conrad said.
Residents will be able to make reservations for the shelter house beginning next spring, she said. If there are no reservations, anyone can use the facility on a first-come, first-served basis.
The cost of the playground project was about $600,000, with the installation of additional parking and sidewalks costing about $180,000 and the accessible playground equipment coming in just under $400,000, Conrad said.
The city received $500,000 in state funding and the remaining cost was covered through a donation from the Grove City Little League board of directors, she said.