Inclusive playground nearing completion

The playground under construction at Hay Park is expected to be completed by the end of September. 

GOSHEN — As the opening nears for Goshen’s first all-abilities playground, a new sign has been approved to help people find it.

The Goshen Board of Zoning Appeals voted to let a large sign to go up at the Kerry’s Kids Playground at Hay Park. Special permission was needed to install the 13-foot tall, 64-square-foot sign, which Parks Department Superintendent Tanya Heyde said will direct people to the entrance.

“The playground will be fully fenced, as part of the inclusivity of the playground. And so we want to keep a very defined entry and exit to the playground area,” she told the board. “It’s 8,000 square feet, in total, so the playground is pretty large itself. And it will have some visual barriers once you’re inside.”

Heyde said the playground is scheduled for completion at the end of September. She said crews had hoped to be done by Labor Day but had some delays because of weather.

The park was proposed several years ago as a place for people of all ability levels to play. The Parks Department raised nearly $400,000 through grants and donations for the equipment, while the city is paying for improvements to the site, including a parking lot and sidewalks.

Designs for the sign provided to the BZA show a purple sign stretching between two stone pillars, with “Kerry’s Kids Playground” written in white. Some of the contributors for the park are listed on the pillars, including the Kerry Finnigan Rupright Foundation and the Community Foundation of Elkhart County.

BZA members praised the uniqueness of the park and sign before granting the variance.

Heyde said organizers plan to hold a ribbon-cutting for the playground after it’s finished, when they can coordinate a time with the park donors and sponsors.

“There are a lot of organizations and people that are excited to be there,” she said.

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