Bexley will mark the opening of Schneider Park, its first new park in 42 years, with a community playground build Friday, March 29, and Saturday, March 30, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony May 18.

Schneider Park is in the Ferndale Place-Mayfield Place neighborhood off East Livingston Avenue. After environmental remediation was completed last year, the city began developing the park.

The playground is the result of a $65,000 donation from the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation to the city, said Michael Price, Bexley's recreation director. The Bexley Recreation and Parks Department has recruited volunteers to help assemble a playground at Schneider Park, he said.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 18 and will recognize "a number of organizations, individuals, people that helped make this project happen," Price said.

"And then it will be a festival for opening up the park -- games, music, food, various activities."

The 3.5-acre site includes a 330-by 210-foot athletics field, a trail system that runs along Alum Creek, a community shelter house and playground, parking and other support infrastructure.

The recreation department is taking a wait-and-see approach to determine if the grass at Schneider Park will be ready to accommodate sports this spring, Price said. However, the department eventually might relocate the soccer goals at Commonwealth Park West to Schneider Park on a temporary basis so soccer teams can play, he said.

"At some point during the season, we may move them over to Schneider Park because we do want to do some maintenance on Commonwealth Park West," Price said.

The recreation department will offer several free programs for youth at Schneider Park this summer, Price said.

The Park and Play program will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, June through August. Park and Play enables youth to use balls, racquets and other recreational equipment free of charge on a first-come, first-served basis.

"We'll have two to three park leaders that will be there with equipment and supplies," Price said.

Program participants "can come and go as they please. If you're not comfortable with that as a parent, you need to be there to provide that extra supervision," he said.

Additional programming will be presented at Schneider Park from 10 a.m. to noon on the second and fourth Saturdays of June and July and the second Saturday of August. The Saturday programming will include games, art activities, soccer drills, flag football, and taekwondo, Price said.

"We'll bring our instructors out with different specialties," Price said.

In addition to the $65,000 grant for the playground, the Schneider Park athletic fields were developed with $390,000 in city funds, an $81,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, and an $81,000 grant from the Bexley Community Foundation.

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