Wheatfield getting all-inclusive playground

Sep. 8—The Town of Wheatfield is planning to install a new all-inclusive playground this fall.

The new equipment will go up at Fairmount Park on Nash Road, directly south of the tennis courts. Renderings seen on the town's website show three slides, wide ramps for wheelchair-bound kids to climb, swings, a wheelchair accessible merry-go-round, and other fun contraptions.

"Not everything's inclusive, so we've slowly been turning things over to where everyone can use it," said Town Recreation Director Mike Ranalli. "That's kind of the point of doing this, so every single resident in the Town of Wheatfield can use it."

The all-inclusive nature is like existing playgrounds in Lewiston and Pendleton, with Parkitects, the Buffalo company that designed those two, designing this new one as well. Unlike the other two that have rubberized surfacing, the Wheatfield playground will have turf surrounding the sets.

Wheatfield resident Cary Newman first made the suggestion to Ranalli in June 2022, with them and Councilman Curt Doctor forming a committee with other town councilmembers to brainstorm ideas.

"Each person has something that they wanted to include in the qualities of the playground," Ranalli said.

The town highway department is working to install the stone and drainage for the site, with Parkitects delivering and installing the playground starting on Sept. 28, taking one to two weeks to complete.

The total cost of the playground is more than $400,000, between the structures and installing the turf. All the funding will come from American Rescue Plan Act funds the town received in 2021.

The town plans on opening it in mid- to late-October, depending on the weather.

The Wheatfield Recreation Department is also hosting a name the playground contest, with entries submitted through the department through Oct. 15 and the person who submitted the winning entry receiving $250. Ranalli said the names should be three or less words and appropriate.

The park committee will then create a list of names they like, present it to the town board, and have them make the final choice.

"We're just very happy that the town board gave us their blessing to use Covid relief money for this," Ranalli said, "because I think this is going to be very impactful for the community."