Our Village inclusive playground dedication
A crowd of more than 100 people came out Tuesday morning to mark the official opening of the “Our Village” inclusive playground in the Medford City Park.
“Our Village Playground’s name comes from our philosophy that ‘It Takes a Village to Raise a Child with a Disability.’ Today is a celebration and appreciation not just for this playground, but for Our Village,” said Joe Greget, who led the committee for the project.
The project officially began on Nov. 17, 2016 with the first community meeting on the concept of a handicap accessible and inclusive playground area. In April 2017, the Medford City Council approved allowing the committee to renovate a section of playground space in the park.
What followed was a period of planning before they launched a wide-ranging fundraising project. The Taylor County Board took a lead role in that fundraising project tapping into powerline impact fee funds to become the first major donor for the $250,000 project.
They were the first, but were far from the last as dozens of individuals and businesses, including the Memorial Member Association of Aspirus Medford Hospital, came forward with donations to make the playground possible. In addition to cash donations, there were numerous in-kind donations such as Peterson Construction doing the site work.
The area features accessible play equipment, sun shades and a cushioned, yet fully accessible surface.
In cutting the ribbon and dedicating the park area, Greget thanked all those involved with the project and dedicated it to the memory of children who never got a chance to play there. “ In loving memory of the children who didn’t get a chance to play here - Chase Ried, Gabe Sigmund, Mikey Sherwood, and Collin Cushman. You are shining down on us today from heaven. May your families come and play here remembering you and know you and your whole family are our inspiration,” Greget said.
He also issued a call to action to make the entire community more inclusive. “May Our Village Playground today not be the end, but rather an inspiration and just the beginning of our school playground areas, the south side of the tunnel, and throughout our community,” he said.