The City of Goshen’s first-ever fully inclusive playground at Hay Park, 1414 W. Plymouth Ave., is now open to the public.

The City, donors and the community celebrated the opening of Kerry’s Kids Playground with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday, Oct. 3. With ramps and special-equipment features, every part of the playground is accessible to residents of all ages, regardless of mobility or developmental challenges.

“We know this park will be a park all ages and all abilities will be able to enjoy together,” Mayor Jeremy Stutsman said at the ceremony. “We have been working on this park for three and a half years, and it warms my heart to know that it has been completed.”

At the event, special thanks were given to Laura Elliott, a Goshen High School student who wrote to Mayor Stutsman suggesting the addition of a fully inclusive playground, as well as donors who contributed to bring the project to life.

Two dedications were made during the ceremony: A plaque was placed on a bench near the playground’s entrance in honor of Rusty A. Elliott, Laura’s father, who passed away while the design planning process was ongoing. Goshen Hospital dedicated an accessible drinking fountain in honor of having received their fourth Magnet recognition for providing the highest quality of nursing care to patients.

This playground became a reality thanks to a committee made up of residents and City staff who worked on its design, as well as funding from the Kerry Finnigan Rupright Foundation, the Community Foundation of Elkhart County, BraunAbility and the Indiana Housing and Development Authority (IHCDA).

The IHCDA, through its CreatINg Places program, provided a matching grant of $50,000 for a crowdfunding campaign via Patronicity. Thanks to the community’s support, the Goshen Parks & Recreation Department was able to raise nearly $75,000, exceeding the original goal of $50,000.

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