Gathering with dozens of children, park supporters and city officials, Mayor Greg Fischer today dedicated a new playground at Petersburg Park in the Newburg neighborhood. Designed with elements that allow children of all physical abilities to play together, it was built through a partnership between Louisville Metro Parks and the DREAM Foundation, Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to assisting children with physical disabilities, and their families.
The $112,000 ‘inclusive’ playground provides a ramp to the play deck, allowing easy access for wheelchair users, and a ‘rockin raft’ play feature that also accommodates a wheelchair. Other elements include sensory and musical panels and other activities. Rubber surfaces throughout the playground also make it easier for wheelchairs or those who might require the assistance of a crutch or walker. The playground is adjacent to a sprayground which opened at the park in 2010.
“We want everyone to be able to share and enjoy Louisville’s tremendous parks and strong quality of life regardless of where they live or their physical abilities,” Fischer said. “So, it’s an honor for us to continue partnering with the DREAM Foundation to make possible these great playgrounds where children can play together, regardless of their level of ability.”
The DREAM Foundation provided $40,000 toward the project, which included a generous gift from Kosair Charities. Louisville Metro Council-appropriated capital projects funds provided the balance of the playground cost.
This “play together” playground is the fourth such playground built in a Metro Park in partnership with the DREAM Foundation. Others are at Shawnee Park in western Louisville, Iroquois Park in Louisville’s south end, and Des Pres Park in eastern Louisville.
“This playground project is a result of teamwork, that all of the children can benefit from,” said DREAM Foundation founder Mitch Barnes. “DREAM Foundation, Kosair Charities and Metro Parks are a pretty good team! We hope others will join in.”
Metro Parks Director Mike Heitz agreed with Barnes, and added, “The DREAM Foundation has brought its vision and passion to our parks, and we are very proud that our partnership has resulted in these wonderful opportunities for all children to play together.”
About Petersburg Park
Petersburg Park is a 28-acre park in the Newburg neighborhood located off Indian Trail in southeastern Louisville. The Newburg Community Center, Newburg Boys & Girls Club and Newburg Middle School are all located nearby, and the park contains an exercise trail, ballfields, tennis courts, a stage, a playground and sprayground.
About the DREAM Foundation
DREAM (Duchenne Research Education and Miracle Foundation) was founded in Louisville in 1998 by Mitch and Meredith Barnes in honor of their son Mitchell. DREAM is dedicated to assisting children with physical disabilities, and their families. DREAM is focused on raising funds and public awareness for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. One of DREAM’s goals is also to raise funds for scholarships to educate pediatric physicians and for its “Play Together” Playground Project.
Learn more: http://www.dream-foundation.net/ 
Photo credits: City of Louisville, Metro Parks