STOW – Residents will have an opportunity to review the playground plans and equipment at the upcoming Play for All Visioning Day in conjunction with the Pizza Palooza Jan. 26 from noon to 3 p.m. at Stow-Munroe Falls High School, 3227 Graham Road.
Residents can offer their input on what type of equipment they prefer for the playground, the splash pad and amenities like benches and paths being planned for the 7-acre City Center location that will replace the Stow Kids Playground.
Information gathered at the event will help the volunteer planning committees and city leadership make final decisions in the design and construction and for fundraising activities through the "Play for All Campaign."
"We want this new park and splash pad to be a community gathering spot for all of our residents," said Mayor John Pribonic. "In order to do that, we need your input. Attending this visioning event gives everyone the opportunity to have their feedback heard and considered for the final planning. Let’s work together to make this park a true destination for all of Stow’s residents, from toddlers to seniors and people of all abilities."
The visioning event offers an opportunity for the public to share what they want and see what equipment is available with interactive activity zones and learning stations.
"Surveys and volunteer committee input have informed the planning process to date, and the goal of these projects is to create a gathering space that brings people together for inclusive fun and play, mixed with a rich roster of arts, educational and wellness programming," said Linda Nahrstedt, director of parks and recreation for the city of Stow.
Stow-Munroe Falls Community Foundation is the organizer of Pizza Palooza and would collect donations for the City Center playground.
Pribonic asked council Jan. 9 to approve an application to the State of Ohio Capital Fund for a grant up to $225,000 for the new playground, but four of the seven members voted against moving the legislation out of committee. The deadline for applying was Jan. 13 and the next council meeting is Jan. 23. Pribonic said he is working with state representatives on the grant application deadline.
The four council members against the grant proposal, which does not require any matching funds, were President Sindi Harrison, Vice President Jeremy McIntire, President Pro-Tem Dennis Altieri and Mario Fiocca (Ward 4). Those for the grant proposal were Steve Hailer (Ward 3) and at-large members Cyle Feldman and Christina Shaw.
Pribonic said the entire project would cost $1.287 million for both the splash pad, playground and walkway, but if citizens helped with the assembly of some of the simpler playground equipment, the cost could be reduced. The city would be responsible for maintenance and keeping the area clean. So far, $400,000 is pledged to the project, he said.
McIntire said he wanted to see the plans the city paid $14,000 for, but Pribonic said those original plans included an amphitheater and said it has taken the city this long to prepare updated plans, which were needed for the grant.
Feldman said he wanted the city to take care of the parks the city has already.
Pribonice said for at least six years, the city did not invest in its parks. Last year the city worked on Oregon Trail Park and paved Silver Springs parking lot.
"We are raising funds for the new park and don't want to take money from the budget for it," Pribonic said. "We are working on improving our image and what we [Stow] provide."
Altieri wanted the playground to go in before the splash pad, but Pribonic said residents said they had playground equipment at other parks and wanted a splash pad first.
The Playground Equipment committee has had three companies - Park N Play; David Williams & Associates; and Midstates eEcreation - present their plans and ideas for the City Center new playground off City Center Boulevard. Vortex and David Williams & Associates presented plans for the splash pad.
In the Jan. 8 presentation, different pods were presented with some for ages 2 to 5 for preschoolers and others for ages 5 to 12 for elementary students. Each pod had different components such as swings, climbing ropes, spinning pieces or rocking apparatus that had different levels of strength.
Some of the equipment could be used by children in wheelchairs and was placed on concrete surfaces instead of the mulch covering. A musical trail with musical instruments was presented as well.
The committee did not like the sand diggers and said it would become a giant cat litter box. Committee members also said they wanted more items for teens and adults such as outdoor fitness equipment on a trail.
Council and the mayor have disagreed about the playground committee but the nine people chosen by the mayor and the three appointed by the former council president have met monthly and gone forward with plans.
The committee includes Bruce Bach, Jenn Bernard, Jennifer Coleman, Sarah Haren, Kimmy Henderson, Jonathan Leissler, Deborah Luchka, David Miller, Bernie Moxley, Cherie Schrengauer, Kari Suhadolnik and Denise Tonelli.
For more information about All Visioning Day and upcoming fundraising efforts, contact the Parks and Recreation Department at 330-689-5100 or email at Parks@Stow.oh.us.
Gannett reporter Laura Freeman can be reached at 330-541-9434 or firstname.lastname@example.org