By now, children and perhaps a few adults have gotten familiar with the new playground at Carriage Place Park, 4900 Sawmill Road.

The $75,000 natural-play area, which received a $30,000 "Meet Me at the Park" grant awarded by the National Recreation and Parks Association and funded by the Walt Disney Company, was scheduled for completion Oct. 26, according to Jeff Anderson of the Recreation and Parks Department.

"Everything's been going real smooth," the parks development planner in the planning and design section said. "It's been right on schedule."

"We are excited for the new playground," Kelly M. Hoffman, manager of the adjacent Carriage Place Community Center, said in a statement.

"It replaces worn, outdated equipment with some cool new features that all ages should enjoy. The new playground has all of the components of the department's mission of connecting the community through the power of nature, wellness and creativity, which kids of all ages will be able to conquer with this new playground."

The anticipated completion was just in time for the annual Halloween party at the center, said Brian Hoyt, communications and marketing manager for Recreation and Parks.

Columbus was one of 25 cities throughout the country to receive the "Meet Me at the Park" grants, which required completion of the projects by Nov. 1. The money, combined with $45,000 of Recreation and Parks funds, was used to create an area that "mimics varied play opportunities naturally found in forests and meadows," according to the announcement of the awarding of the grant in early July.

The contract for the project was awarded to Playworld Midstates, based in New Albany.

"We had a full design for the contractor," Anderson said.

The idea, he said, was to take a typical playground and add more natural materials and increased plantings.

"This is supposed to be kind of a pilot project for us," Anderson said. "This is the first time we've done a natural playground."