A Dream Come True: Cullman Connected Playground

by | Jul 1, 2018 | Breaking News, City News, Cullman City, Images, Interviews, Videos

A Dream Come True: Cullman Connected Playground

Can a new playground embody the uncanny foresight, unwavering focus, flexible tenacity, raw entrepreneurial spirit and the sheer, unbreakable will of generations of citizens steadily accumulated through decades of selfless, visionary civic leadership?

If you live in Cullman Alabama, the answer to that question is an absolute ‘yes’.

On the surface, Friday afternoon’s ribbon cutting and dedication at the four-years-in-the-making Connected Playground in the newly renovated Ingle Park on Lessman Street Southwest was a simple thing. It was the opening of new, very nice city park.

Just below the surface, however, lies a decades-long tale of visionary city planning, community-wide commitment (and support of) recreational venues and physical fitness … for literally every citizen.

Ingle Park and the Connected Playground is the culmination of countless small (and big) accomplishments over the years that makes Cullman unlike most any city in the United State with a population of only 15,000 or so people.

Cullman Parks, Recreation, and Sports Tourism Director Nathan Anderson summed the visionary tale up perfectly during his short time on the Ingle Park stage Friday afternoon:

“This park is truly amazing. And you know, we are the exception to the norm. This park is an example .. proof … that we do things in Cullman, we do them big, and we do them right!

 

We have a dream come true today in this park.”

What is so special about the park itself? 

The Connected Playground concept transcends the concept of a ‘city park’. It reaches out to literally everyone – making itself inclusive for all residents – including those with extraordinary abilities and uncommon challenges with premiums placed on safety and enjoyment.

The safety fundamentals at the park include equipment made lower to the ground than common playground apparatus (making them wheelchair accessible) along with artificial grass (AstroTurf) with thick, 4-inch padding underneath. 

The Connected Playground is American Disability Act (ADA) compliant.

As mentioned by Anderson in the video above, the Ingle Park renovation along with the Connected Playground redesign has required a massive, committed community focus with assistance and support coming from all directions, including:

★ Several Individual Donor
★ Cullman Parks and Recreation Foundation Board
★ Rock The South
★ Dinner on First
★ Cullman Rotary Club
★ Mayor Woody Jacobs & the entire City Council
★ Cullman Street Department
★ Cullman City Parks Employees

The project required an aggregate investment of around $500,000, plus countless hours of dreaming, planning, and execution to make it become a reality.

Mayor Jacobs spoke late Friday afternoon about the new Connected Playground at the renovated Ingle Park near the Field of Miracles complex and the Wellness and Aquatics Center.

The Mayor had special words of thanks for the Lessman family who facilitated the transfer of land to allow this area of the city to flourish:

Permanent Video Link

Along with the Connected Playground, the Ingle Park renovation includes:

* Pickleball courts
* Foursquare courts
* Full-size basketball court with multiple hoops
* Dog park in a shady location
* Butterfly garden
* Shaded, large pavilion
* Public accessible restrooms

The playground features were designed and built by KOMPAN, an international company. Their ‘inclusive universal play’ design lets kids with disabilities share playtime experiences with both able-bodied and disabled children.  KOMPAN’s designs utilize ‘The Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines’ (which they helped formulate): www.kompan.us/inclusive-universal-play.

Further, the Connected Playground features an innovative underground drainage system that makes the play area useable almost immediately after heavy rains. 

Judge Rusty Turner, the Chair of Cullman Parks, Recreation, and Sports Tourism described the Connected Playground in this interview right after the ribbon cutting ceremony concluded:

Permanent Video Link

Hannah Jacobs (many of you will know her as ‘The Mayor’s Daughter) is super excited about the new park as you’ll see in the following interview.

Unfortunately, Hannah was the first person injured at the park during a promotional video filmed Thursday.

Her bones are a little more brittle than most people’s and her ankle was broken during a fall. Hannah is in a cast and will meet with a specialist on Monday, but it is currently believed that she will be fine and back to normal after an appropriate length of downtime and healing:

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We expect her back on the Connected Playground as soon as she is out of her cast, and has doctor’s permission to proceed!

For more information on the Connected Playground at Ingle Park, and Cullman Parks, Recreation, and Sports Tourism visit their webpage.

You can see all photographs from this kick-off event here. You can also purchase high-resolution prints in a variety of styles and types including wall hangings:

A Dream Come True: Cullman Connected Playground

Timothy Collins

Timothy brings an insightful holistic perspective as well as a mountain man tenacity to his various roles at Cullman Today. You can reach him at cullmantoday@gmail.com.

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