A spray park and an inclusive playground are on the way for kids to enjoy at Ontario Beach Park
Monroe County officials unpacked the gold-painted shovels Tuesday for a groundbreaking at Ontario Beach Park that promises two new additions: a spray park, to open this summer, and an inclusive playground for all kids.
Standing alongside a trio of easels, which were slightly uncooperative in the summer breeze, County Executive Adam Bello introduced artist renditions of what’s to come. The grass just to the west of the Dentzel Carousel will be home to the spray park — which seemed like a great idea as the temperature nudged its way into the 80s — and a playground of plastic slides and frogs, tunnels, and a small zip track.
“Combined, this is more than a $2 million investment in Ontario Beach Park,” Bello said.
It’s also an investment that’s part of an incremental return to the beachfront’s glory play days, as seen in historical photos of the park. Already in place is a synthetic ice rink, now closed for the summer, and volleyball and pickleball courts. And there’s music, too, with the Jazz at the Beach concert series held on the second Tuesday of the month (up next: The Darryl Parker Quartet 7 p.m. June 13) and the Wednesday evening Concerts by the Shore, beginning 7 p.m. June 7 with Nik & the Nice Guys.
“It used to be a place where, in the ’20s and ’30s, everybody came to Charlotte,” said Tom Bruce, president of the Charlotte Community Association. “We’re trying to get back that history, trying to get back that excitement. Adam Bello and the Parks Department have started that process by doing all of these upkeeps.”
Bello said the additions announced Tuesday are part of an ongoing $16.6 million ‘Go Outside Monroe Park’ revitalization initiative. He said the spray park and accompanying playground setup is unique to the region.
“It represents the High Falls to the Genesee River,” Bello said, “and follows the river’s path all the way to Lake Ontario, which is represented by our spray park.”
The free spray park will be an opportunity for parents to cool down their kids when water conditions at the lake are sometimes not welcoming for swimmers.
The inclusive playground will be the first in a county park, Bello said.
“The playground is going to address the needs of all children, and includes play elements that will increase physical skills, along with sensory, communication, and motor skills,” he said.
That includes the zip track, an arch swing, climbing ropes, a roller slide, and musical play panels. The area will be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Bello said, with ramps and an inclusive seesaw.
“The projects are accessible for individuals with mobility challenges, and those who use wheelchairs,” Bello said.
“We want to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to have fun at a Monroe County park.”
This story is reported from WXXI’s Inclusion Desk.