Blanchard Valley Health System recently sponsored a “Smart Play Nook” at Memorial Park in the Village of Carey for a renovation that will make the park more accessible to children of all abilities.
Kelly Shroll, chief operating officer, ambulatory services, recently presented a check to Carey Mayor Jennifer Rathburn.
A Smart Play Nook is a playhouse featuring 20 interactive activities addressing developmentally appropriate skills. It is designed to keep young children engaged as they develop social, motor and cognitive skills through play.
“We should have recreational opportunities in our community for everybody, so all children can play in the park,” Rathburn said.
Village leaders had been discussing upgrading the park, but Rathburn said her longtime friend, Holly Roof, helped her see the importance of making it all abilities-friendly. Holly’s son, Carson Roof, 13, has been in a wheelchair his entire life, which has made it difficult to play with other children. Holly and Carson also attended the check presentation event, along with Village Administrator Scott Washburn and Cassie Carlson, director of the Carey Area Chamber of Commerce.
Rathburn added that she had taken her own children to the Blanchard Valley Health System Miracle Park in Findlay, and was impressed by how it was accessible to children of all abilities. She wanted to develop something like that in Carey.
The village added a splash pad to the park in 2020, but the next phase of renovations was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Rathburn said the upgraded park, featuring the Smart Play Nook, is expected to be ready around spring 2024. A renovation to the park’s swimming pool is also planned. Rathburn noted that Carey is a close-knit community, and many residents have already offered to volunteer their time to help with park construction.
And BVHS recognizes that sense of community found in the village, Shroll said.
“Carey residents are committed to their community, and BVHS is likewise committed to the community of Carey and its residents,” Shroll said. “This donation, which will help make it possible for all of the village’s children to play at the park, is just one more way in which the organization is serving the Carey community.”
BVHS offers primary and specialty care services at the Carey Medical & Diagnostic Center at 930 Sheriden Drive. For more information, call 419.396.7683.