Last month a new playground opened at Westgate Park on the west side of Columbus. The hockey-themed playground was made possible by a $50,000 grant from the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation.
The project, conducted in partnership with Columbus Recreation and Parks Department, Ohio Parks and Recreation Association (OPRA), and Playworld Midstates, features a uniquely designed play structure outfitted with themed enhancements such as hockey stick posts, puck-studded climbing walls and Blue Jackets images.
The playground, featuring Playworld Systems’ equipment, is divided into two age-appropriate areas and complimented by swing sets for kids and toddlers.
“Our goal was to develop a hockey themed playground and to use some of the concepts in the Inclusive Play Design Guide. Inclusion means creating a play space everyone will enjoy using and will want to return to play again,” said Blake Hobson of Playworld Midstates. “We aim to challenge and engage all members of the community, those with disabilities and those who are typically developing.”
The hockey club’s staff and a collection of community volunteers came together to build the custom Blue Jackets-themed power play playground. Players Matt Calvert, Mark Letestu and Curtis McElhinney joined volunteers from the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association, Westgate community neighbors, and Columbus Recreation & Parks.
“It was an honor and a thrill for the Blue Jackets organization to be part of such a great day,” said Greg Kirstein, Blue Jackets senior vice president and interim executive director of the Blue Jackets Foundation.
A year ago, the organization helped build another hockey-themed playground at Krumm Park on the Columbus’ east side that quickly became very popular with the community.
Since its inception in 2000, the Blue Jackets Foundation has invested over $6.2 million in central Ohio to help kids get healthy, play safely, and stay active.