A mom is taking a break as the kids play in the sand with a new friend.
A father is playing catch with his son.
A family is looking for wildlife in the wetlands.
A grandma is pushing her grandchild on the swing.
A group of adults with disabilities is having a picnic at the park.
This is a sunny morning in mid-August at Millstone Creek Park.
Tria Gill and her two little boys, Sterling and Xavier are outside soaking up the beautiful weather. They just moved to the Columbus area from Cleveland and left behind an expansive background to play in. Their new favorite spot…Millstone Creek Park. “The kids really like climbing on the rocks, digging in the sand and finding the animals in the water. It really brings them back to nature,” said Tria.
The Gill family is one of many out at the park this summer. Millstone Creek Park was just voted “Best Outdoor Playground” by the Columbus Parent Magazine Best of Columbus Awards. This inclusive park offers a nature play area, sports fields, a shelter with family restrooms, access to the Westerville B&W (Bike & Walkway) and a very unique playground.
The play set at Millstone is a boundless playground. The all-access structure gives everyone the ability to enjoy the park. There are ramps, hard-framed swings and a feature called the AeroGlider that are specially made to accommodate different physical limitations.
Adrian Marshall works with AllRFriends, a company that provides ongoing support for adults with disabilities. She chooses to bring her participants to Millstone Creek Park because of the amenities. “We plan two outings a week, and finding a place that everyone can enjoy is challenging. I love that our entire group can use the park and have fun while they’re here,” said Adrian.
Millstone not only has equipment designed for the physical needs of all park users, but is full of other features and games that promote learning. Sue Pryor takes her two granddaughters to “Nana’s Park” as they lovingly call Millstone for some quality time outdoors. As a retired Westerville teacher, Pryor appreciates the multitude of educational opportunities at the park. “There are so many things to do from making music to going down the slide with the girls,” said Sue.
Both amenities Sue’s granddaughters gravitate toward have additional benefits. The ability to create music gives visitors with vision impairment the chance to play, while a metal slide allows children with cochlear implants to use the slide without static electricity interfering with their hearing.
These highlights are just a snap shot of the many ways Millstone is truly an inclusive park. And even if you have been to Millstone a hundred times, chances are there will be something new to experience the next time you visit. Maybe you’ll even see the Gill family playing the NEOS 360 game or looking for frogs in the water. For more information on Millstone Creek Park, visit www.westerville.org.