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Climbing rocks coming to Richfield playground

3/13/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

The climbing boulders will be added to the existing Jack Jones Memorial Playground and placed as shown above.
Rendering courtesy of Richfield Village
RICHFIELD — When the Jack Jones Memorial Playground was installed in the park behind Richfield Village’s Town Hall, the project included a stone with a bronze memorial plaque to note those who made it possible.

The playground has resulted in hours of fun for local children, but Richfield Parks and Recreation Director Ruth Jocek also noticed the memorial stone provided energetic youngsters with another obstacle to tackle.

“What do you think the kids want to climb?” she asked.

Now with grant funding and support from the Bath/Richfield Kiwanis, the village will be able to add a climbing element to the playground with four boulders.

Jocek said the village is set to receive a $51,000 NatureWorks Grant from the state. Bath-Richfield Kiwanis officials said that group has raised an additional $20,000 and also received a $2,500 grant from the Ohio District Kiwanis Foundation for the project, which is going to be called the Kiwanis Rock Garden.

“As soon as we get the last OK from the state of Ohio, we will start and it should be in by June,” Jocek said.

According to Kiwanis President Floyd Ostrowski, the rocks are handcrafted from specially mixed 9500 psi fiberglass-reinforced concrete to which pumice is added for weight reduction. The boulders are then hand painted and clear-coated for protection from the elements.

Jocek said a company in Ashland is producing the climbing boulders, which range from about 2 feet high to 9 feet high.

“Two will be put together to be a climbing piece with a tunnel through it, and there are two other free-standing rocks,” she said.

She added she’s hoping there will be a special event planned to officially open the feature to the public when it’s complete.

“It’s a great project,” she said. “I’m so excited and I can’t wait.”

Ostrowski said the Kiwanis raised its portion of the funds from events such as its Memorial Day pancake breakfasts, spaghetti dinners at Revere High School (RHS) during football games and Richfield Community Day.

The club is now setting its sights on its next project and also is actively seeking more members, Ostrowski added.

“For the work to continue, the Kiwanis Club needs to increase membership of dedicated community members who believe that we can change the world, one child and one community at a time,” he said.

Internationally, Kiwanis is focusing efforts on the elimination of maternal and neonatal tetanus around the world. Locally, the Bath-Richfield Kiwanis offers scholarships to leadership camp for RHS students, provides dictionaries and thesauruses to middle school students and donated pediatric backboards to both the Bath and Richfield rescue squads.

The club, which is open to all interested community members, meets every Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Fellowship Hall in Richfield. For more information, go to www.bathrichfieldkiwanis.org.

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