New Playground Wins Second-Place Award from OPRA

Ohio Parks and Recreation Association (OPRA) has announced its 2021 Annual Awards of Excellence winners

Cincinnati Parks won 2nd Place in the Capital Improvement category for the PNC Grow Up Great Playground in Inwood Park!

“Parks and recreation professionals throughout Ohio work every day to improve the quality of life of the people they serve,” said OPRA Executive Director Woody Woodward.  “This effort is a shining example of that kind of work, and we are pleased to be able to present this award.”

Cincinnati Parks, in partnership with Cincinnati Parks Foundation and PNC Bank, dedicated a new accessible playground in August. This is now the largest play area in any Cincinnati Park, with fun and challenging features for children ages 2-12. A $150,000 grant from the PNC Foundation helped replace a 20-year-old playground. The Inwood Park PNC Grow Up Great Playground is now the first-of-its-kind and fully accessible. Included among the playground’s features are:

  • a wheelchair accessible spinner
  • a 90-foot zip line
  • “tot”-sized houses
  • musical instruments
  • a swingset featuring a fully accessible ADA swing
  • “drag strip” for foot races

Inwood Park is a 19-acre park located two miles from downtown Cincinnati in the underserved Mt. Auburn neighborhood. With its location in the city’s urban core, the park is centrally located and within walking distance to several area elementary schools and Public/Preschool Promise schools. Five separate public schools serve the Mt. Auburn community with 36% of the neighborhood’s children living below the poverty level. The existing play equipment in the park was over 20 years old and needed to be replaced.

Prior to designing the Inwood Park PNC Grow Up Great Playground, local children from Rising Star Academy and a local YMCA program were invited to a design and charrette to describe what their dream playground would look like. Activities included drawing playground ideas, voting on playground elements, and participating in an open discussion. Cincinnati Parks used the children’s ideas for inspiration. The Mt. Auburn Community Development Corporation (MACDC) and Inclusion and Accessibility experts from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital advised on the playground’s accessible features and final design. Upon completion of the project, Cincinnati Parks, the Cincinnati Parks Foundation, MACDC, and donors held a ribbon cutting to celebrate the opening of the playground. Local children, including those who participated in the design charrette, and their caregivers were invited to play, picnic, and enjoy this new neighborhood feature.

Not only was this new, accessible playground designed for the community who would utilize it, but it was designed, in part, by them. This playground enhances the neighborhood with state-of-the-art play equipment, provides a new gathering space, and activates the park with new programming– but most importantly, it encourages play. Here, children of all abilities can burn off energy, explore, socialize and be challenged, all while having fun.

Congratulations to the Cincinnati Parks team on being recognized for their amazing work, and a huge THANK YOU to PNC Bank for making this dream a reality.