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Grove City Dream Field Complex and Whitehall Community Park Receive OPRA Awards of Excellence

The Ohio Parks and Recreation Association (OPRA) has given Awards of Excellence to Grove City’s Dream Field Complex at Windsor Park and to Whitehall’s Community Park Revitalization Plan, both in the Capital Improvement Projects - $1.0 million to $2.5 million category.The projects took first and second place, respectively, in this category.

EMH&T’s Planning and Landscape Architecture Division provided planning and design assistance for the Dream Complex as part of our master planning work for Windsor Park, which was already home to one of Central Ohio’s premier baseball complexes. EMH&T also provided civil engineering services for the project. Whitehall Community Park received a new lease on life thanks to the master planning and design work of EMH&T’s landscape design professionals.

Grove City’s Dream Field Complex includes an accessible ballfield with covered bleachers and features a tiled surface for those using wheelchairs or other assistive devices, an accessible concession-restroom building, and a playground plus other supporting structures. The complex accommodates individuals with mobility issues, both children and adult, and is specifically designed to create a space where they can interact with others, regardless of their physical abilities. The playground includes swings, various slides and climbers, and panels that engage children in activities related to sound, colors, and shapes. Ramps and platforms ensure children using mobility devices are able to reach the elevated play components.

The Dream Field project will compete against the first place winners in the two other capital improvements categories for the OPRA Governor’s Award. The winner will be announced and the award presented at the OPRA Annual Awards Dinner on February 5th at the Kalahari Convention Center in Sandusky.

In Whitehall, EMH&T planned and designed significant upgrades to what has become the centerpiece of the city’s park system. The Whitehall Community Park Revitalization Plan opened access to the park’s “lower level” area, which comprises half the park’s acreage, and was a dramatic elevation drop from the park’s entrance making it inaccessible to many users. The redesign created a new grand, circular entrance to the park and its main parking area as well as a new vehicular road to the lower level. Also included are a multi-use path and a new parking area on the lower level.

The lower level’s previously vacant softball fields were removed and the area replanted with several acres of native meadow plants and wildflowers along with soft turf walking paths. A wooded area was trimmed back and cleared of invasive honeysuckle, opening access to the adjacent Big Walnut Creek for a future canoe/kayak launch. Additional improvements to the upper area include a paved multi-use loop path with four new playground installations, the largest of which is the city’s first accessible playground with a tiled surface and specially designed inclusive features. The upper area also now features two handicap-accessible open-air picnic shelters, a new sledding hill, and new tables, benches and signage.

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