Columbia Considering New ADA Accessible Playground, Trail

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COLUMBIA - The City of Columbia Parks and Recreation Department is set to hear public feedback Wednesday about a proposal to create an inclusive playground at Woodridge Park off Keene Street.

The proposed project would include ADA compliant surfacing, as opposed to the playground pea gravel that has previously been used for several Columbia playgrounds. It would also include a wheelchair-friendly ramp from the ground to the jungle gym, as well as a lower set of monkey bars.

The project will cost $260,000. Parks and Recreation received a $75,000 grant from the Land Water Conservation Fund in February 2014 to help pay for it. It also received $125,000 from a Cosmo Luncheon Club donation and $13,000 from a private donor. The project needs $50,000 more in donations to get going.

"It's been a very complicated but well-worth it project," Parks and Recreation Director Mike Griggs said. "Everything has been falling into place, from grants to private donations."

Griggs said the department plans to recognize the Cosmo Luncheon Club at the Columbia City Council's June 16 meeting, when the council is set to decide on the park proposal.

The department picked Woodridge Park because of it is close to the Ronald McDonald House, Thompson Center and Women's and Children's Hospital.

"What this will do is provide a very unique park that is next to facilities," Griggs said. "Anyone can play and do activities together."

The proposed spot for the playground lies next at a lower point on the park property. While Griggs acknowledged the challenges the steep location provided for wheelchair accessibility, he said the park plans will include an ADA compliant trail leading to the playground.

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