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Y set to open indoor park

by MACKENZI KLEMANN - mklemann@wabashplaindealer.com

The Wabash County YMCA will open the Rainforest Play Park on Saturday, Feb. 24.

The indoor playground will include a bouldering wall, interactive virtual pond and indoor play equipment, which will be open to the general public during designated hours each month. YMCA staff hope the space is used by children and families so that they stay active year-round, even when the weather would prohibit physical activity outdoors.

The playground is located inside what was once an unused room on the main floor of the YMCA.

Crews have already transformed the space into a rainforest-themed play area, with a bouldering wall already in place and installation of indoor play equipment and the interactive pond expected within the next two weeks.

The pond will include 3-D sensors that react when children walk through the pond, creating the appearance of ripples and fish swimming away.

The first public play date will be from 12:15 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 24. The YMCA plans to open the play area to non-members free-of-charge at least every second and fourth Saturday of each month, according to Kendall Hoover, the YMCA’s communication specialist.

The idea for the playground came from YMCA CEO Clint Kugler and Jordan Tandy, the Y’s chief volunteer officer, who wanted to repurpose an underutilized space on the Y’s main floor. A playground committee was formed soon after, and a Patronicity crowdfunding campaign was launched late last year. That campaign raised $53,286 in just two months, which qualified the YMCA for a $50,000 grant from the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority.