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'All kids deserve the chance to play' | Inclusive playground just weeks away from opening at Rotary Park

The labor of love from Wood County Plays has been in the works for years. With help from over 150 volunteers, it will be a place where all kids can play together.

PERRYSBURG, Ohio — Work continues on the newest space for children of all ages and abilities to get outside and do what kids should be doing: play.

The new inclusive playground is just weeks away from opening up at Rotary Park in Perrysburg.

"We had over 150 volunteers that helped put every piece of equipment together on this playground," said Ryan Wichman.

Work continues on this labor of love for Wichman, a WTOL 11 First Alert meteorologist. His son Grant, who uses a walker and loves playing outside, is one of the many inspirations for the project.

From dreaming, planning, fundraising and now execution, this inclusive playground is already bringing people together, even before the first child gets to play.

"It was really cool to see people go up and shake hands that had never met each other before, but realize they had a common bond in wanting to put this playground together for our community and the kids in our community," said Wichman.

The project was made possible with support from Wood County Plays, an initiative to bring this playground to life; the first of its kind in northwest Ohio.

"Folks like doing projects like this and being part of it," said volunteer Todd France.

France didn't want to miss an opportunity to be a part of something that would not just benefit his own kids, but their kids as well.

"Getting to the finished product and remembering I twisted that bolt or leveled that jack, and being able to talk to the kids about being a part of this project," said France.

Local skilled tradespeople joined volunteers to make sure everything gets built, and built safely.

Once all the equipment is set and safe, then comes a smooth rubber surface on the ground, and a fence.

They hope to have the playground ready for kids to enjoy by the middle of July.

"Every single one of these volunteers is from our community. They walked in tools ready to go, opened up the directions, page one, it was like a giant IKEA set and here we are, three days later, everything's standing," explained Wichman.

"For anyone to get to play, that's awesome," said David Schultz with Northwest Ohio Carpenters JATC Local 1090. "Doesn't matter what you are, as long as you get to play, that's what matters."

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