Kiwanis Club proposes all-accessibility park in Groveport

Scott Gerfen
ThisWeek
Groveport municipal offices

Plans are in motion to build a unique park within a park in Groveport. 

The Kiwanis Club of Groveport Madison recently approached the city about building an 8,000-square-foot park for all ages and all abilities at Degenhart Park, 355 Lesleh Ave. 

“What it means is there are no limitations for children with different abilities,” said Christine Boucher, club secretary. “So children with a walker, crutches or wheelchair can play on the same types of equipment as able-bodied children.” 

The new park also is expected to include an area with equipment for senior citizens. 

Members of Groveport City Council and Mayor Lance Westcamp expressed support for the project when Boucher presented the idea during the council meeting Oct. 26. 

“It ties in well, not just with the neighborhoods around it, but with Greenfield Place and the residents there,” city Administrator B.J. King said. “With the park being (for) all abilities and all ages, the residents at Greenfield Place would have a recreational opportunity as well.” 

Greenfield Place offers affordable housing for seniors through Lutheran Social Services. Tenants pay rent based on household income. 

The cost to build the all-accessible park is undetermined while a planning committee looks at designs. 

The hope is to raise money through available grants and community fundraising and complete the park by spring 2022, Boucher said. 

Whether the city contributes financially remains to be seen, King said. 

“As this moves forward and Kiwanis comes up with their capital campaign to raise funds, there might be potential for that, but right now, we’ve agreed to provide the land for it,” he said. 

Degenhart Park is a 3.5-acre park with many amenities, including three lighted tennis courts, a basketball pad, picnic shelter, playground equipment, charcoal grills, restroom (open seasonally), drinking fountain and internal sidewalks, according to the city’s website. 

“The city has wonderful parks, but there are limits,” Boucher said. 

Boucher first presented the idea to club members in January, based on an all-accessible park completed in Lancaster. She said there are six all-accessible playgrounds in central Ohio. 

“We invited some of their members who were involved in the project to come and share with us the good, the bad and ugly and what we needed to know,” she said. 

The Kiwanis Club of Lancaster unveiled its all-abilities, multigenerational playground at Hunter Park in October 2019. 

It features accessible playground equipment, adult fitness equipment and a soft, solid rubber surface. The rubber surface is a key component of the playground because those in wheelchairs can navigate through it easier. The Lancaster park will cost about $340,000 when completed, with the rubber flooring costing about $115,000, the Lancaster Eagle Gazette reported. 

“We’re really excited,” Boucher said. “We hope the community will embrace our endeavor to work toward this park. We’d love to have community input. It takes more than a couple of people. It takes a whole community.”

editorial@thisweeknews.com 

@ThisWeekNews