Support sought for special needs playground in Canfield - News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Support sought for special needs playground in Canfield

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From Cleveland to Pittsburgh there will be no other place like it. A playground, trails, athletic complex and school for kids with special needs.

The Walnut Grove - A Field of Opportunity hopes to start construction in Canfield this spring but the nonprofit needs more of the community's support to make the dream a reality.

A vision of kids of all abilities playing on 20 acres in Canfield is starting to come into focus.

"It's like a Disney World in Youngstown because they're going to be interactive the whole time," said playground committee supervisor Liz O'Hara.

Nowadays there are some accessible playgrounds, but it is often limited for kids in wheelchairs and those with special needs.

"When we take them to playgrounds they just sit there and watch, a lot of the kids watch," O’Hara said.

Playground committee member Kelly Long's two daughters have autism. When they were younger, her one daughter was more sensitive to sound.  So for her, going to a loud playground where there were a bunch of kids running around being crazy was more than she could handle.

So plans are in the works at the Walnut Grove - A Field of Opportunity to have equipment for kids with autism, cerebral palsy, vision and hearing impairment and other needs.

The property on Route 46, near Western Reserve Road, has blueprints to some day become an entire complex. The first phase is trails, a sensory garden and parking lot. Then the playground, a track, soccer and baseball fields, and a school.

The cost for the trails and the parking lot is about $125,000. The cost for the playground is $1.2 million. The committee stresses that they not only need the funds, but they're on the lookout for people with talent and skills.

"We need people in construction, food and excavation, you name it. There are so many areas we need help with," Long said.

Help that will fulfill a dream to change kids' lives through one of childhoods most basic joys.

If you would like to learn more, there will be an informational meeting at the Boardman Library Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.

Plus you can also check out their Facebook page under "The Walnut Grove - A Field of Opportunity" and their web site

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