Grand-Opening and ribbon cutting ceremony held for new EXPLORE Playground and Splash Pad

Local News
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HOOVER, Ala. (WIAT) – The wait is over! It is finally here! The City of Hoover announces the Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting of the new EXPLORE playground and Splash Pad.

The brand new fun and exciting playground are apart of a universally designed park that will have an impact on the quality of life in the City of Hoover and the entire metro area.

Hoover City leaders say the $52 million dollar park includes 17′ exclusively designed clubhouse that will allow for two mobility devices inside while holding several more on the deck. The inside features a custom bookcase, window seat, fireplace and television along with a wide variety of textures and sensory components throughout. The outside includes a rope ladder climber, different types of insects and animals. The splash pad will also allow for children with and without disabilities to play side by side.

The new EXPLORE playground and Splash Pad is located at Hoover Met Complex – Next To Finley Center and RV Park.

City of  Hoover Press Release:

Today, Wednesday, May 1, Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato and members of the Hoover City Council joined with a host of community members and friends to celebrate the grand opening of the new EXPLORE Playground and Splash Pad.

The inclusive playground contains several unique features that will allow all children to play alongside each other, including those with disabilities and mobility challenges.

Brocato was first approached about the park when he took office in 2016. After reviewing the idea, he realized the City had several accessible and inclusive playgrounds, but not on the magnitude of what he thought it should be.

“I talked with our folks and decided we could have the best universally designed, inclusive playground in the area, region and possibly the state,” Brocato says.

EXPLORE includes a 17-foot, exclusively designed clubhouse that will allow for two mobility devices inside while holding several more on the deck. The inside features a custom bookcase, window seat, fireplace and television along with a wide variety of textures and sensory components throughout. The outside includes a rope ladder climber, different types of insects and animals. The splash pad will also allow for children with and without disabilities to play side by side.

The 15-thousand square foot playground and 7-thousand square foot splash pad sits on the grounds of the Hoover Met Complex near the Finley Center.

Hoover Community Service Officer, Dee Nance, headed up the project. Nance, who is an ADA Specialist and Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, created a knowledgeable team of people to assist with the project. That included professionals from United Ability, the Bell Center, Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind, the Lakeshore Foundation, along with special education teachers and their students. The input was also included from community members both with and without disabilities.

“The playground and splash pad was designed to fulfill the social, emotional, cognitive and communication needs of all people,” Nance says.

“It is intentionally not labeled a “special needs playground”, because it is not. This universally designed inclusive playground and splash pad are design to provide an outdoor recreation experience for all people which makes this a “quality of life place”.

Funding for the $2-million project came from a variety of sources. The City of Hoover contributed $775-thousand to the park. The remaining costs were covered mostly through generous contributions and donations from local and statewide lawmakers, companies and organizations.

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