The has reached a major milestone in its effort to build a universally accessible playground at thanks to a major gift from a Cincinnati company.

Officials had sought to fill a $90,000 funding gap for the $450,000 effort, and had made progress toward the goal through requests for support. Rusty Herzog, Wyoming City Manager, says local business then came forward with a $70,000 gift three days before Christmas, pushing the total-raised past the necessary mark.

Cincinnati-based architecture and engineering firm, FFE Inc., specializes in healthcare facility design. The firm’s experience includes medical centers, specialty departments such as COVID-19 isolation wards, physical rehabilitation departments, and other support facilities for national clients such as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

“Thoughtful, inclusive design shouldn’t be an incidental exception, but should be integrated into our society as a basic standard,” says Clint Weekley, president and long-time Wyoming resident. “We are grateful to this and for the opportunity to help that principle become a reality in our own backyard.”

The contribution puts the total raised at roughly $489,000, or $39,000 more than the $450,000 goal. This means the city can move forward with the playground’s construction, and leaders are planning to host a community build this summer to finally bring a long-running vision into fruition.

The project will take place in two phases:

Construction bids will go out in April, and infrastructure work is slated to start in May or June, Herzog says. Plans call for an expanded parking lot between and the park, with additional handicapped-accessible spaces. Crescent’s existing soccer fields will also be improved with irrigation and field leveling. Additional landscaping will make the entire park more welcoming and beautiful.

The playground build itself will likely take place in July, and officials are inviting donors, church groups, and community members to participate in the community build.

Rachel Leininger, Director of Recreation and Citizen Engagement for the City, says the play structure at Wyoming’s North Park was put together through a community build, albeit on a smaller scale. That one-day project took place in 2018.

The community build will likely take place on a Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. It’s a great way, city officials say, to instill and a sense of ownership. The construction process itself would be managed by a professional from the equipment company.

“This was an all-hands-on-deck project from the very beginning, and in the way the funding was raised for it,” Leininger says. “This will bring us full circle.”

Crescent Park, when complete, will be one of only a few fully accessible playgrounds in the region. The project has received financial support from Ohio, in the form of a state budget grant, a community development block grant, and more than $227,000 in private donations.

The playground, in its current design, will feature elements like a playbooster with ramps and slides, a chill spinner that offers sensory benefit, a “we-go-round” that’s wheelchair-accessible, accessible swings, and more.

The city said a SignUpGenius-type platform will be used to organize volunteers when the community build gets closer.

More information will be posted about the project in the coming weeks.