Written by Angie Teed
The most well-known park in the Center Grove area, closed since March 2020 for renovations, has reopened! Independence Park, located at 2100 Morgantown Road in Greenwood, was due for a makeover. First built in 2000, it is known as Indiana’s first all-accessible playground for people with all abilities, and it does not disappoint with its awesome new look.
A New Look for Independence Park
You will notice a few familiar staples still at the park. There is one large picnic shelter and two smaller ones available for rent. The full court basketball court and smaller court near the playground, which is wheelchair accessible, have not changed and neither has the SoundPlay music area. You can still walk the ½ mile asphalt trail, too, and read the Johnson County Library’s Story Walk along the way.
What’s New at Independence Park
There’s something new for all ages at the newly-renovated park. The first thing you’ll notice, in the middle of the park, is the Unity climber. It features hanging hoops and netting connected together. My daughter took it as a challenge to get from one end to the other without touching the ground, and it soon became her favorite part of the park.
Kids will also find the Accessible Whirl, like an updated playground merry-go-round. It is a spinning carousel flush to the ground to accommodate two wheelchairs plus more kids and a seat for some, too. The Unity Dome in the same area is fun for kids to climb on, around, and inside. There is a climbing net “chimney” in the middle for kids to climb up and down, too.
Climbing & More
The playground has ramps and webbing, slides, and climbing galore. There are also stepping stones and learning panels scattered throughout.
One feature we’d never seen before was the Drop Zone Tower. It’s similar to a fire pole, but instead of sliding down, you step onto a platform and “drop” to the ground. Then, it automatically rises for kids to ride again and again.
Accessible Playground Options
The climbing squares at the north end of the playground are fun for all ages to climb up and around. The bubble-looking chair, also on the north end, is a Cozy Cocoon and meant for all kids to relax, but especially those with autism disorders to block out over-stimulation. There are different textures for tactile exploration and windows so parents can watch the child from outside.
The Aeroglider, located towards the back of the playground, has benches at each end for children and adults, room for two wheelchairs, and stepping platforms on the outside of each end for more people to join the fun. There’s a table to hold onto once onboard in case it’s a wild ride.
Swings at Independence Park
At the south end of the park is the swing area. There is a Hoopla swing which fits up to four kids at one time. On the large swing set, there are two black belt swing seats, one baby seat, two Swing Along swings, and one Accessible Swing. The Swing Along swings have a seat for a child under the age of five and a seat for a sibling or parent to face them. The Accessible Swing Seat has a harness and accommodates kids up to age 12.
There is also a spin cup and a cabasa in the swing area. Kids can take a spin while waiting their turn for the swings or turn the cabasa wheel to make rattling sounds, which my toddler loved.
More Coming Soon
There is a large circular concrete area in the front of the park that has a coming soon sign with a picture of a Sona Play Arch. The Arch is accessible to all and fun for all ages. It features games like Musical Chairs and Animal Dance along with learning activities such as rhyming, addition, and reading at the touch of a button. It is said to be an awesome workout, so it’ll be a fun addition to the park when it arrives.
Know Before You Go
The Johnson County Parks Department has a few guidelines on their website for you to be aware of when you visit the park. First of all, there are no longer trash cans at the park, so they ask that you take your trash with you or put it in the dumpster by the restrooms. They also have areas roped off because those will be seeded when the weather cools down. Some of the roped off areas will be made into an expanded parking lot.
The Parks Department will be cleaning the playground once a week, but asks you to be aware of social distancing and CDC guidelines during this time of COVID-19. Finally, they are working with the Youth Leadership Academy to make an art project by the main gate. If you find painted rocks within the park, please return them to the art project.
Support Independence Park
The renovation has been halfway paid for so far, through the help of sponsors. The Johnson County Parks Department is still accepting donations from businesses, organizations, and individuals. Visit the park’s website for more information, or call the office at 812-526-6809.
2450 South Morgantown Road
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