Community members discuss a new universally accessible playground at Norwood Park

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FAIRMONT, W.Va. – Norwood Park community members gathered Tuesday evening at the Fairmont Public Safety Building to give their input on what they would like to see in the new universally accessible playground.

In 2019, the city announced a public-private partnership between the city, Novelis, and the Disability Action Center to create a universally accessible playground for the community. Officials said the universally accessible playground will be the first of its kind in the area, with a play space for people of all ages and abilities.

“Parks and playgrounds are for the community. So, it is really important for us to have their feedback on what they would like to see, especially this being universally accessible. It’s a playground for everybody, all ages, all abilities. So, it’s important to get everyone’s feedback,” said Hanna Turner, Marketing and Communications Program Manager for the City of Fairmont.

City of Fairmont officials said the current park has very little equipment currently which makes it a blank slate to develop the playground areas. Also, city officials stated at one time Norwood Park was a busy community park filled with families and kids.

“Councilman, Josh Rice, who is also the Park Commission President, he got on council and I told him about this project. And he worked with Novelis, and Novelis was interested in helping out. They’re wonderful about their community support, and community engagement, and donations to community organizations, and projects,” Turner said. “They were interested in this at the local level and from the local level they sent it up to corporate. And corporate granted us $75,000 to go towards this project.”

Through some research city officials found that Norwood Park is located in the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District. Being located in a TIF District made the park eligible for more than $500,000 in TIF dollars for the park project.

Also, officials said this project has been in the works for several years and they are excited to get feedback from the community as they take the next steps in creating an official design for the space.

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