On July 12th the new All Can Play playground at Ellis Park held their ribbon cutting. This inclusive & ADA accessible is the newest addition to the park which has a community building, picnic shelters, bocce courts, 18 hole disc golf course, game room, horseshoe pits, tennis courts, pickleball courts, sand volleyball court and two ball fields. This 29-acre park also features an event center with a riding arena, judges tower, restrooms, and concession stand. A 1.5-mile walking trail connects the two facilities.
This playground addition was partially funded through a Connect NC Bond program. Rowan County was one of 18 projects across North Carolina selected to receive the grant funding. It was great to see a large crowd out to participate in the ribbon cutting while two busloads of children from a summer camp waited patiently for the festivities to conclude so they could PLAY!
Some featured components of the play structure include accessible swings, braille panel, sign language panel, and musical keyboard panel. Also included in the playground area is an inclusive orbit which is a merry go round that accommodates someone in a wheelchair, seated or standing all at the same time. This is a place where children, parents, grandparents, siblings, or friends with and without disabilities can interact and ”All Can Play.”
After the dedication, I asked for a tour of the community building and had a great conversation with Park Supervisor Craige Farmer. The building was previously an old school house. When it ceased to be used as a school and was placed up for auction, a group of farmers came together to purchase the building and surrounding property and gave it to the county to operate as a park and community gathering place. Today, the building is available for rental and also serves as the offices for the therapeutic recreation division and houses the Rowan County Senior Games.
In addition to all of the smiling faces on the playground, I loved the story of how the community came together to protect an area that was important to them and set it up to support the area for many years to come.
To view a fun video produced by Rowan County on the ribbon cutting visit https://youtu.be/wTrunfSB0b8
For more information on Ellis Park visit https://www.rowancountync.gov/460/Ellis-Park