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An artist’s rendering of the proposed makeover of the Avon Lake Play Space. A Christmas tree shaped piece of climbing equipment is in the foreground with a wheelchair accessible spinning ride to the left of the Christmas tree.

The revamped Avon Lake Play Space in Bleser Park will consist of a soft but sturdy, poured in place surface winding through, slides, swings, musical elements, lots of things to climb on and numerous other varieties of playground equipment.

The equipment itself will sit on top of engineered wood surfacing, basically fiber mulch on which kids can play and fall without being injured. The entire space will be ADA compliant.

That was the plan laid out before City Council last week before City Council last week by recreation consultant Mike Hibner of Midstates Recreation.

The home of the Avon Lake Play Space is inside Bleser Park, 32800 Electric Boulevard. The company is based in southern Ohio but does business throughout the Midwest.

Children needing wheelchairs, crutches and walkers will be able to make their way through the wooden mulch, Hibner said. The poured in place pathway would be harder and would allow for easy use of assistive equipment. Midstates decided against using poured in place materials throughout the playground as a cost saving measure, Hibner said.

A few of the uniquely adapted elements include a platform on which children can sit and spin around. It is designed to allow wheelchair users to access it and spin without leaving their wheelchairs.

A Christmas-tree shaped climbing element allows wheelchair users access to inside the play equipment to watch others scramble around on the roping. O’ Tannenbaum was the name Hibner gave the equipment.

Midstates’ plan further calls for ADA compliant swings with straps to hold children in place if needed.

“It’s a very engaging space for people with different levels of ability and even sensory abilities,” said Ward I Councilwoman Billie Jo David.

“It’s really creative,” Ward II Councilwoman Jennifer Fenderbosch said of the overall design.

There are several measures the city can take to keep the cost of revamping the playground to a minimum, said city Public Works Director Joe Reitz. The city will supply fencing around the playground as well as putting in water fountains and similar amenities. If plans move forward as presented, the city would be responsible for maintaining the mulch beneath the playground equipment, raking it and possibly replacing the materials as needed.

Other highlights of the playground include a zipline and benches and seating space for parents. The ability to keep an eye on children as they play was a major concern of residents and council members, said Hibner.

The city hopes to demolish the existing play space, built in 1994, and covering approximately 12,000 square feet, by the end of the year. A grassroots effort to renovate the playground got underway in mid-2019. The Avon Lake Bicentennial committee donated $19,000 to help launch the efforts of the renewing ALPS committee.

Playground plans will return for consideration by council in December or January. The plan is currently in the hands of the council’s planning committee headed by Fenderbosch. She noted playground costs came in slightly under the city’s allocation of $500,000, about $499,000 total. City officials hope to have the revamping of the playground done in time for spring or early summer.

Contact this reporter at tcorrigan@westlifenews.com or 440-871-5797.

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