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Plans progress for inclusive playground

Plans progress for inclusive playground
Plans progress for inclusive playground
A revised rendering shows what the Possibility Playground at Hayswood Nature Reserve will look like when it is completed this summer. Submitted rendering
By Kristen Cervenak, Editor, [email protected]

A demolition party at the old Hayswood Nature Reserve will take place next Wednesday in order to make room for the new, inclusive Possibility Playground that will provide greater handicap accessibility.

The 2 p.m. demolition will take place at the site of the old playground.

At the parks board meeting last Wednesday, Larry Shickles, superintendent of the Harrison County Parks Dept., said two children who inspired the project that has been in the works since 2019 will push a button created by the construction team to tear down the existing playground.

Attendees will be able to view pictures and a video of the future 29,000-square-foot playground, making it the largest playground in Indiana, as well as the most inclusive in the state, according to Shickles. The Possibility Playground has more than a thousand points of play and can accommodate 1,000 children at a time.

Shickles shared with board members a few additional updates about the project, including the work and possible relocation of the new shelter house, which has challenged handicap-parking accessibility scenarios, due to a pre-established 3% slope. This opened the option of expanding the handicapped parking on the right-hand side and pushing the new shelter house slightly farther back.

The old shelter house will be torn down, as it falls within the parameters of the new playground. However, Shickles said they also hope to repurpose a 16-inch-thick pad, and he met with library staff to discuss the possibility of creating something such as a mini library or activity center.

In addition, Shickles shared that an architect was looking into a future bathroom facility project, covered by donations and estimated for completion in 2024. After discovering the additional construction of a family bathroom facility would double the cost of renovations due to the odd roofline and stone wall, it was thought to be more feasible and cost efficient to build a free-standing facility apart from the existing bathrooms, which will receive an update while closed for a couple weeks for construction.

Following the demolition party, Shickles said they will meet with manufacturers and an electrician and will share at the next parks board meeting information about how to sponsor a fence panel, brick or other construction toward the new playground. That meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 22, at 7 p.m. at the Harrison County Discovery Center in Corydon.

At last week’s meeting, the board also discussed logo options for marketing with a dozen or so options posted on the wall for viewing, ranging from bright playful fonts to butterflies. Shickles asked the opinions of those in attendance about the options.

The logo would be included in marketing materials, also looking into a separate website linked to the parks department’s website.

“If I were going to come to the Possibility Playground website, I could go to that and get all the details about the playground. At the same time, I could find accessible hotels and accessible restaurants,” he told board members with plans for meetings with local hotels and restaurants to brainstorm ways to involve them.

The playground is expected to be completed this summer, barring any unforeseen issues.