A Playground for All

Common Ground Playground at Mason’s Makino Park makes sure everyone can get in the game and have fun.

Photograph by Tim Bayer

At the Common Ground Playground in Mason’s Makino Park, children swing, climb, and whirl on a variety of brightly colored play structures. Not so unusual. But look closer, and you’ll see something special. That extra big swing allows friends to swing together, face to face. The blue Sway Fun glider is wheelchair-accessible. This inclusive playground provides fun for all children.

Photograph courtesy City of Mason

Mason mom Rachel Kopfler of the Mason Parks Foundation led the charge to build Common Ground, a project born from her own experience. She noticed that one of her triplets, born with a spinal cord defect, kept up with his two typical siblings while they were playing, finding his way as they went. She wondered if other kids could benefit from the same experience, and after years of fund-raising—including a $500,000 gift from machining manufacturer Makino—the Common Ground Playground became a reality.

Photograph courtesy City of Mason

Local parents, therapists, and even makers of inclusive playground equipment weighed in on the playground’s design, which lays out like a butterfly, with four distinct play areas, two on each wing. Kids can explore texture and movement, build their balance skills, practice social play, and explore music together. There’s a kid-size zipline, and a special mini-pitch, built with the support of the FC Cincinnati Foundation, that allows kids of all abilities to get in the game. And all of this is just the beginning. The Mason Parks Foundation is working toward building Adaptive Ball Fields at Makino Park. The fields will serve the Mason Challenger League, which allows youth with physical and developmental challenges to play Little League baseball. The league won a $25,000 grant from State Farm’s Neighborhood Assist program to get the project started. A space where everyone can play together? Game on. • 6100 Kopfler Court, Mason

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